The company is mounting three early modern plays at the Swan Theatre—The Roaring Girl by Thomas Dekker and Thomas Middleton (1611), The White Devil by John Webster (1612), and Arden of Faversham (1592) by an anonymous playwright, though scholars see William Shakespeare's hand in it—centered on murderous, adulterous, or swashbuckling women.
For a festival of companion pieces under the moniker Midsummer Mischief, RSC commissioned four female playwrights to come up with four one-act plays that will run at The Other Place at the Courtyard Theatre. Their charge: to build off the idea that "well-behaved women seldom make history."
The plays are being paired to play in two programs. Timberlake Wertenbaker has written The Ant and the Cicada, which explores why we are willing to let the home of art and democracy crumble. It shares Programme A with Alice Birch's Revolt. She Said. Revolt Again, which examines the language, behavior, and forces that shape women in the 21st century. Programme B features I can hear you by E.V. Crow, a play that questions what happens when you take loved ones for granted and counsels that some things are better left unsaid. It is paired with Abi Zakarian's This is not an exit, a funny drama about the absurdity at the heart of modern womanhood.
These new plays will run June 14–July 12 at The Other Place at the Courtyard Theatre, and then move to London for a July 15–17 run at the Royal Court Theatre, Jerwood Theatre Upstairs.
This marks a reopening of The Other Place in Stratford. The studio theater opened in 1974 to feature new and experimental works, though the landmark RSC production of Shakespeare's Macbeth starring Ian McKellen and Judi Dench opened at The Other Place in 1976. The Other Place closed in 2005 and transitioned into The Courtyard Theatre, serving as RSC's temporary home while the Royal Shakespeare Theatre and the Swan were transformed.
June 10, 2014