English, theatre faculty collaborate to research, produce play for Early Drama Festival

May 28, 2015  

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – A free public performance of “The Three Lords and Three Ladies in London,” a play researched and produced by three Purdue professors, will be at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday (June 2) in the Carole and Gordon Mallett Theatre at the university’s Yue-Kong Pao Hall.

The play is produced by Purdue professors Paul Whitfield White (English), Anne Fliotsos (theater) and Richard Sullivan Lee (theater) who, together, received an Enhancing Research in the Humanities and the Arts grant from the College of Liberal Arts to research and produce the Robert Wilson play. It is an Elizabethan play contemporaneous with the drama of Shakespeare.

The play was originally performed by Queen Elizabeth I’s acting company, which appeared regularly at the royal court. “The Three Lords and Three Ladies” is a celebration of the queen and the city of London in the immediate wake of the failed Spanish Armada of 1588. Unlike Shakespeare’s plays, it is rich in stage directions that offer significant clues about the play’s original performance at the royal court and elsewhere. The political and religious setting of the day, conveyed through pageantry and ceremonial language, demonstrate its considerable importance to the history of Elizabethan dramatic performance and history.  

Directed by Sullivan Lee, Purdue's condensed version of the play has been invited to perform at the Festival of Early Drama at the Center for Performance Studies of Early Theatre at the University of Toronto, Canada on June 6-7. There, on the 50th anniversary of the Poculi Ludique Societas (the University of Toronto’s historic drama society), “The Three Lords and Three Ladies” will be staged alongside its prequel, “The Three Ladies of London,” to be performed by the Theatre Department of McMaster University, Hamilton, Canada.  

Purdue's production of “The Three Lords and Three Ladies” is an experiment in historical research that is being designed, rehearsed, and staged in keeping with "Original Practices." Original Practices research is a relatively new movement in theatre that focuses on implementing the dramatic techniques of the period and reconstructing, as much as possible, its original conditions of performance and reception. In addition to offering fresh insights about Elizabethan stage conventions and performance, the project aims to examine modern audience reception - popular as well as academic - to the Elizabethan play. An interactive digital edition of the play that is fully annotated with textual and historical notes and augmented by video of scenes in performance will complete this project.

The free public performance Tuesday in Pao Hall will serve as the final dress rehearsal. Pao Hall is located at 522 W. Wood St., West Lafayette.  

Contact: David Lageveen, director of marketing and donor relations for Purdue Theatre, 765-494-3084, lageveen@purdue.edu.

Sources: Paul White, 765-496-3389, pwhite@purdue.edu

Anne Fliotsos, 765-494-3075, fliotsos@purdue.edu

Richard Sullivan Lee, 765-494-3078, rslee@purdue.edu 

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