Sunday, June 14, 2009

The Beaux' Stratagem

Last night, we set up our ever-present folding chairs on the lawn at Kenmore to enjoy the Fredericksburg Players’ performance of The Beaux’ Stratagem, a Restoration comedy from the early 1700’s. The evening was a sort of play within a play. For the price of admission ($10), you’re invited into Kenmore, where colonial Fredericksburgers of the day prepare to attend the performance, and engage in banter about the play and tell stories about local characters. Then the costumed interpreters join you on the lawn as the play begins.

Between the conversations of the colonials, and director Fred Franklin’s funny and informative introduction, I learned about the troupes of actors who would travel from town to town to entertain the locals, as well as about mores of the day. The play itself was a silly romp, risque for its time, I’m sure, with a few modern touches just for laughs. We saw this group of actors recently in Macbeth, and I highly recommend any of their productions. They do an excellent job, and we enjoyed the light-hearted evening.

The play continues tonight and next weekend on Saturday and Sunday, June 14, 20, & 21 at 7 p.m. Bring a lawn chair or blanket, and have a picnic supper on the lawn. Don’t forget to come early enough to tour the mansion before the show, from 5:30 to 6:15. The play is recommended for adults and older children.

This trio of well-bred ladies discuss the scandalous nature of divorce. I hadn't been inside Kenmore since the most recent renovations, so it was interesting to have a look at the rooms. There was no formal tour, so I'll have to go back sometime, most likely when I have visitors.

A group of colonials, including tavern owner Capt. George Weedon, discuss the upcoming play.

Throughout the tour, we encountered a number of "George Washington's Young Friends," a group of colonial interpreters, all under 18, who often appear at local historical events.

The company takes their final bow.

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