Upper School Debuts “The Belle’s Stratagem"
Posted October 23, 2012
“The Belle’s Stratagem” by Hannah Cowley
directed by Ritchie Porter, with Hevia Paxson assisting. Daniel Mellitz- technical director
Performance Dates: Friday, October 26 at 7:30 pm, Saturday, October 27 at 7:30 pm and Sunday, October 28 at 3 pm.
MacDonald Hall on the Postoak campus
Tickets Available at the Door: SAES Students Free, children/seniors $3, Adults $5
The Upper School fall play is an exciting and surprising offering, Hannah Cowley’s “The Belle’s Stratagem.” Written in 1780 by a playwright at the height of her comic powers, the play explores love and marriage against the backdrop of London’s whirlwind society in the late 18th century. Letitia Hardy is betrothed to the dashing Doricourt, as worked out by their parents when the two were young. After years of traveling the Continent of Europe, Doricourt returns to become reacquainted with his fiancée and to go through with the arrangement, if the parties still agree. When Letitia realizes that Doricourt seems indifferent to her, she hatches a plan, a stratagem, to win the love of her man. The play follows another couple, Sir George and Lady Frances, recently married. The jealous and over-protective husband is afraid that his charming wife, raised in the country, might be tempted by the ways of fashionable circles. Much tension arises when the merry widow, Lady Racket, attemptsto introduce Lady Frances to everything the town has to offer. Cowley’s exploration of the themes of love and trust seems quite modern.
Hannah Cowley received much acclaim during her career, and her plays were often produced. Somehow her work fell out of favor, and was all but forgotten in the 19th and 20th centuries. Recently there has been a revived interest in her writings and career, including a London production of “The Belle’s Stratagem” last year. However, this comic gem remains still largely unknown, and the St. Andrew’s Players are thrilled to be among the first to bring it back to the audiences it richly deserves.