Random thoughts on William Wycherly's The Country Wife...
Really? there we go. It's funny and depressing at the same time. So really? This is a "you can't make this shit up unless it's really going on around you" kind of play. Basic premise is Mr. Horner pretends to be impotent so he can gain access to married women. The women pretend to be pure and prudish so they can gain access to Mr. Horner. Hilarity ensures, and a lot more sex than you think would happen in a play from 1675. seems to me with a bit of tweaking, this could just as soon be set yesterday.
Plus, I'm noticing a lot of domestic violence, between this, Wuthering Heights, and The Way We Life Now, women get clobbered and threatened pretty often. It doesn't seem like the authors look kindly on this but the way it's reported, it's definitely a matter or course for all these folks involved, say 1675, 1800-ish, and 1873.
There's lots of funny stuff in Wife, as one can imagine, and at the end... well nothing comes out the way you'd think. Trolloppe ends The Way We Live Now with most folks finding happiness that has been denied them for the past 800 pages, or the villains get theirs. The actual wife of the title falls in love with Horner (who as you can see is very busy) so while you root for her to get what she wants, what would she get? I'm curious what people thought of it back then as well as women playing those kinds of roles.
On another note, I'm trying to rethink how I write plays. Like totally and completely. I don't know exactly how to do this, but after to many it would be kind of dull to keep up the same model. Maybe dull isn't the word, but... I remember reading a bunch if Ibsen and thinking "here we go again," and I'd like to not be that person, should anyone read a whole bunch of my plays in rapid succession. What I'd like, to be honest, is a little less plot and a little more "happening."
I have a few reasonably plotless plays. "Black Bean Burritos," "Livin' Life on De Fly" are more random scenes with a bunch of songs. "Woof the Road Show" is kind of like that as well. You can do a lot if you junk the plot. You need a story, but do you need a whole bunch of too-familiar tropes of storyline? Probably so if you're going to get produced. I don't know how to even go about with BBB. The songs we do in the band, Grave Injustices, Letter from Liberia, and Over the Trumpet, are from BBB. It's about race, about politics, and it's kind of a "Groundhog Day" experience with a guy ordering burritos. There's a scene of Obama trying to buy a car, with cash, and the dealership not trusting where the money came from. And a scene that makes fun of late night TV fundraisers. And an actual story around it, of street musicians and homelessness.
I had to cancel it because the cast couldn't rehearse. So there it lay, throughout the entire Obama administration, hoping to see the light of day. Maybe sometime.
There's a boatload of plays from England, so I could read them forever. It's got quite a theatrical history which is pretty cool. Was just thinking London is kind of like classical Athens, in the accomplishments of so many in a small population, and the arrogance of empire that came with it. but that's a long treatise for another day.
Still, if your play from 1675 is still trotting the boards, you must have done something remarkable.