The Brutes have a terrible relationship. Lady Brute married for money, Sir John for sex—and now he has been driven to drink and she to dreams of adultery. Flanked by a squadron of drunken rakes, debauched aristocrats, and lascivious French maids, the Brutes turn the town into a battlefield of love and infidelity, armed to the teeth with their dazzling, sharp-honed wit.
First staged in 1697, The Provok’d Wife is the crowning glory of the English Restoration—the explosive era that banished the Puritans, reopened the theaters, and prized outrageous comedies of social mayhem and sexual license. John Vanbrugh—playwright, politician, soldier, spy, and the architect of Blenheim Palace—was languishing in the Bastille when he drafted The Provok’d Wife, an immorality tale of the very rich behaving very badly.
After two years of stale matrimony, Sir John Brute’s affection for his wife has dried up. He complains that love is “cloying meat when matrimony’s the sauce to it,” and spends most of his time carousing with his friends Lord Rake and Colonel Bully. Fed up with a loveless marriage and her husband’s boorish ways, Lady Brute resolves “to play the downright wife” and cuckold Sir John. Ever since her wedding, she has been courted by Constant, and with the help of her niece, Bellinda, Lady Brute begins responding to her admirer’s flirtations. Her efforts at adultery, however, are stymied by the vainglorious Lady Fancyfull and her sycophantic French maid, who threaten to expose the fledgling affair and destroy Lady Brute’s reputation.
Special thanks to production sponsors Ted and Mary Wendell.
Additional sponsorship support provided by Beth Pollock.
Photos & Videos
|Sir John Brute
|Justice of Peace
|Deborah Knox Meschan
|Footmen, servants, drinking companions, and general populace
|Edward Hichez, Caroline Luce, Jonah Mitropoulos, Jemma Tory, and members of the company
|scenic design by
|costume design by
|lighting design by
|original music and sound by
|movement and fights by
|New York casting by
|Chris De Camillis
|voice and speech