An extraordinary play about extraordinary women
I am sitting stuffing a bum roll. Later I will be mending corsets and making Amazon headdresses. I feel like Doll Common. Particularly as Mistress Betterton (Verity Mann) is directing my labours. This is all part and parcel of directing ‘Playhouse Creatures’, a moving often comic tale of the real life women who were pioneer actresses on the English stage.
This is an extraordinary play about extraordinary women. It is hard but important to remember that Shakespeare was writing the roles of Juliet, Desdemona and Cleopatra for men to perform.
King Charles II had seen women on stage in France when in exile, and so the possibility arose for English women to do the same. Waiting for a play to begin in a London theatre, the King questioned why it was late starting. The answer came, “Sire, the player queen is still shaving”! The result was a Royal Decree allowing women to legally act on stage.
This was by no means an easy route. These were five tough women and I am delighted to say I have five tough actresses to help me tell this story, supported by an excellent team of creatives. Come to see this show; you will laugh and you will cry. Now back to rehearsals and . . . the bum rolls and petticoats!
Carol Davies directs Saddleworth Players forthcoming production of ‘Playhouse Creatures’ at the Millgate Arts Centre from 2–9 February. Tickets from our booking site.
Carol Davies, Jan 17, 2019