We are proud to announce that Hedgerow Theatre’s production of Or, by Liz Duffy Adams is Barrymore Recommended. Adams’ sexy romp mixes history, farce, witty language and a political spy thriller as it tells of a day in the fascinating, multi-faceted life of pioneering female writer Aphra Behn (1640-89).
The production is directed by Aaron Cromie, a Philadelphia-based director, designer and performer, who served as the scene designer for On the Verge, and Philadelphia actor/director/dramaturg Kittson O’Neill, who directed last year’s critically acclaimed On the Verge, returns to play Aphra.
Hedgerow Fellow Allison
Bloechl (Lucy in Dracula) and Company Member Brock D.Vickers (The Man in On the Verge) play all of the other roles, making lightning-fast costume and accent changes in true farcical style.
Aphra’s task is complicated by constant interruptions from her sudden new love, cross-dressing actress Nell Gwynne (portrayed by Bloechl); complicated royal love, the king (Vickers); and very dodgy ex-love, double-agent William Scott (also Vickers)—who may be in on a plot to murder the king in the morning. That means she has to try to save Charles’ life, win William a pardon, resist Nell’s charms, and launch her career, all in one night.
Aphra is a figure shrouded in mystery. Next to nothing is known about her early life, which is possibly a direct result of Behn intentionally obscuring her own past from the public and from history. Biographer Janet Todd said of Behn that she “has a lethal combination of obscurity, secrecy and staginess which makes her an uneasy fit for any narrative, speculative or factual. She is not so much a woman to be unmasked as an unending combination of masks”.
In 1665, the Second Anglo-Dutch War broke out – one of four wars fought between England and the Netherlands in the 16th and 17th centuries – and Behn found herself hired by King Charles II (played by to work as a spy in Antwerp under the pseudonym “Astrea”, with the intention of turning the British expatriate and son of a regicide William Scot into a double agent for the crown. Evidence suggest that Behn’s attempt at intrigue failed, and Scot betrayed her to the Dutch.
The debt she managed to accrue resulted in a warrant for her arrest, which forced her to work for the King’s Company and the Duke’s Company as a scribe. In 1670, her first play, The Forc’d Marriage, premiered, and she found great success by 1677, with the premiere of her comedy The Rover.
Adult ticket prices for Friday, Saturday evening and Sunday shows are $34; Thursday and Saturday twilight shows are $29. There is a $3 discount for seniors. Tickets for those 30 and under are $20. Tickets for the previews on January 28 and 29 are $20 for adults and $15 for students. For groups of 10 or more, tickets are $18. Members can purchase half-price tickets for all shows. Prices include all fees and are subject to change.
For more information about the Barrymore Awards for Excellence in Theatre and other Barrymore Recommended productions, visit www.theatrephiladelphia.org. For reservations or more info, call 610-565-4211 or visit www.HedgerowTheatre.org. Hedgerow Theatre is located at 64 Rose Valley Road in Rose Valley (near Media).