Performing The London Cuckolds
Kristina Straub, Carnegie-Mellon University
This lecture focuses on two texts and a performance: Edward Ravenscroft’s 1681 comedy, The London Cuckolds, Terry Johnson’s 1998 adaptation of that play, and Don Wadsworth’s 2009 production at the Carnegie Mellon School of Drama. With the goal of understanding both the gendered sexualities of the seventeenth century and how they “haunt” the 1998 text and the performance of 2009, it explores such questions as: What can the adaptation and staging of an old play in a new context tell us about how we construct the gendered sexualities represented in the Restoration text? If the 1681 version allows for a decidedly critical view of marriage and heterosexuality, what would account for that “queerness” in the contexts of the late seventeenth century? How are Ravenscroft’s depictions of marriage and adultery rewritten for the twentieth-century stage in Johnson’s adaptation? And how are the play’s tropes of gender and sexuality re-encoded when they are embodied in performance?
Learn more about the Center for Renaissance Studies’ Eighteenth-Century Seminar.