The art of acting in Restoration comedy, the buoyant, often bowdy romps which celebrated the reopening of the English theatres after Cromwell's dour reign, is the subject of this bold investigation. This text shows the way to attain clarity and hilarity in some of the most delightful roles ever conceived for the theatre.
Restoration London's leading actor and theater manager Thomas Betterton worked with all the best-known playwrights; the first generation of English actresses; was intimately involved in the theater's responses to politics; and became a friend of leading literary men such as Pope and Steele. His innovations in scenery and company management helped to change the culture of English theater. This study unearths new documents and draws fresh conclusions about this figure, contextualizing key performances and examining Betterton's relationship to patrons, colleagues and family, as well as to significant historical moments and artifacts.
The book examines the theatrical representation of women in England, from the Restoration to the early eighteenth century a period when for the first time female actors could perform in public. The author links the representation of women on the stage to the social context in which the plays appeared and to the moral and often political lessons they offered the audience.