It will be a long time before I can stop thinking about this play. Gripping, relatable, and well-paced. Loved it! - JH NewmanRead More
A CURIOUS SAVAGE - Jefferson High School Character Technique
A RAISIN IN THE SUN - Purdue Undergraduate Workshop Advisor
PICNIC - Purdue Undergraduate Fight Choreographer
COMPANION ANIMALS - Undergraduate Workshop DIrector
WORKSHOP TEACHER - Indiana Thespian Conference, Franklin Community School, McCutcheon High School, Merrilville High School
EDUCATIONAL OUTREACH - Phoenix Theatre
THE INIMITABLE AND UNCATEGORIZABLE BEAUX STRATAGEM
Crowned in 1625, Charles I was overthrown by Oliver Cromwell in 1642 and subsequently beheaded. Theaters were shut or burned down, well-known actors and playwrights fled, and a repressive Puritan regime squelched all forms of artistic expression. In 1660, a military coup placed Charles II on the throne and ushered in an era of unprecedented hedonism, sexual freedom, and a celebration of all things theatrical. Charles licensed and sponsored two theater companies, and playwrights – in reaction to the repressive Puritan regime – set about writing plays filled with seductions, adulterous liaisons, and all manner of licentiousness. The Puritans, and a rising middle class audience, responded with moral outrage which was eloquently addressed by Jeremy Collier in the now famous “A Short View of the Immorality and Profaneness of the English Stage.” Collier’s essay decried the seductive nature of Restoration plays and the evils of spectatorship, declaring, “Concerns over profanity and blasphemy are nothing compared to the depravity that can result from watching actors represent Love Intrigues and all Manner of Lewdness.” He condemned playwrights who made "women speak smuttily” and turned “fiction into reality.” Thereafter, playwrights exercised greater restraint and crafted more humanistic stories with dimensional and complex characters. Rather than cartoonish fops, prudes, and gossips – with names like Horner, Pinchwife and Tattle – George Farquhar gave us Aimwell, Bountiful, and Dorinda.
How is it that Mr. George Farquhar came to write the most popular comedy of the Restoration era? Biographical information is scarce. He was born in Ireland in 1677. His father was a Protestant minister who, according to report, “was plundered of all he owned and died penniless.” After graduating from Trinity College, Farquhar stayed in Dublin to pursue acting, but his career came to an abrupt end when he almost killed a fellow actor with a sword during a performance! This defining moment was the end of a budding acting career and the beginning of his life as a playwright. Though his first two plays were well-received, they were followed by a string of failures that left him in a dire strait. He married a widow who, according to his biographer, “tricked him into matrimony by pretending to be an heiress.” Realizing his situation and obligation, Farquhar enlisted in the army to support his wife and stepsons. Three years later, he fell gravely ill and, according to reports, penned The Beaux Stratagem from his death bed, weaving threads of his own life experience into the fabric of this masterwork.
Mr. Farquhar redefined what we think of as Restoration comedy, addressing issues that are au courant today. In this timely and important play, Farquhar gives us:
•Two dashing rakes pretending to be something they’re not,
•A mother who heals and a son who can’t be healed,
•Characters who are prisoners to spouses, victims of birth order, and slaves to their families,
•A graphic depiction of alcoholism and domestic abuse; and
•The first serious discussion of divorce in any British play. (Divorce based on mutual consent did not become legal in Great Britain until 1971!)
All seriousness aside, The Beaux Stratagem remains one of the funniest and most engaging plays of the era because – first and foremost – it’s a ripping good yarn chock full of comedic devices. Stirred into the plot, we have everything we need for a delicious Restoration Comedy, including a bromance between two role-reversing gallants, a comic juxtaposition of country folk and city slickers, a flirtation between aristocrat and innkeeper’s daughter, dual courtship between two lords and two ladies, a paragon of virtue and her dissolute son, and a comic sword fight that sets the stage for a celebratory denouement.
Rich Rand, Dramaturg
THE BEAUX' STRATAGEM - Fight Choreographer
Episode 006 features an interview with Richard Stockton Rand, actor, director, choreographer, writer, and Professor and Coordinator of Undergraduate Theatre Studies in the Department of Theatre at Purdue University. Rich is a dedicated theatre professional wearing many hats, and his thoughts on the theatrical life are nothing short of riveting. You can find Rich’s webpage here.
And here is a link to Rich’s work as a Mask Teacher:
This week's "Look Ups":
Rich mentioned a video of himself performing the PLASTIQUE DISCIPLINE. It is compelling and even emotional to watch him put himself through the exercise. You can find it here:
He also talked about two clips of Bruce Springsteen performing his own song, “The River,” once from the early 1980’s and once more recently. The change in the performer and the maturation of the performance are remarkable. You can find these links here:
Check out this episode! https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/art-tap/id1271220842?mt=2