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"Or,", by Liz Duffy Adams
Bar Harbor
alexx_kay
Yesterday, kestrell and I went to see "Or," at the Lyric Stage. Their (accurate) description is "Aphra Behn is getting out of the spy game and into showbiz. All she has to do is finish her first play, lure Nell Gwynne to be the star, keep King Charles II as her patron, and stop her former lover from getting them all killed. A sexy, riotous comedy loosely inspired by the true story of the literal first lady of the stage." I greatly enjoyed it.

Most of the principal characters, being involved in the theater, tend to speak in iambic pentameter, often rhymed. They even deliberately rhyme each other's lines as a sort of game. This acknowledgment of characters deliberately playing with language is something I wish I saw more of in productions of early modern theater (as opposed to this, which is merely about early modern theater, but is a modern play).

The play enjoys formalist games in other dimensions as well. It is written for only three actors, though it has seven parts. By the latter half, it takes on elements of french farce in the convolutions the action goes through to keep the doubled parts from meeting each other.

It's not a perfect play. I found the prologue, with its meta-commentary on the themes of ambiguity in the play, to be obvious and superfluous. And the resolution to the major conflict at the end smacks more than a little of deus ex machina. But take it all for all, this is an exciting, funny, bawdy play, with fun characters, relevant themes, and a mostly happy ending. Recommended.
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