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MONDAY, MAY 6, 2024 | 7:30 PM 
Sheen Center Shiner Theatre | 18 Bleecker Street


Featuring b, Kelley Curran, and Santino Fontana

Sprung from debtors’ prison after a disastrous overseas mission, Aphra is desperate to get out of the spy trade. She has a shot at a production at one of only two London companies, if she can only finish her play by morning despite interruptions from sudden new love, actress Nell Gwynne; complicated royal love, King Charles II; and very dodgy ex-love, double-agent William Scott—who may be in on a plot to murder the king in the morning. Can Aphra Behn – poet, spy, and soon to be  first professional female playwright — save Charles’ life, win William a pardon, resist Nell’s charms, and launch her career, all in one night?


The Neo-Restoration comedy Or, premiered Off Broadway at WP Theater in 2009; Charles Isherwood wrote in the New York Times that Adams’s “language has a natural period flavor and a formidable wit; her characters possess the spark of fully animated spirits; and she weaves into her story both biographical detail and cultural context with grace.” The play takes place mostly during one night in the life of Aphra Behn, the poet, spy, and soon to be first professional female playwright, and is inspired by a cyclical view of history: against a background of drawn-out wars and a fervent counter-culture of free love, gender fluidity, political optimism and pastoral lyricism, the 1660s resonate with the 1960s and with the late 20-aughts when it was written, when the Obama campaign offered a gleam of new possibilities after the traumas and wars of the Bush years. “Hope prevails, in great waves of laughter. The darker strains beyond Behn’s writing chamber only reinforce the dedication to change. After the recent elections, we can all use a play like this.” (Robert Hurwitt, San Francisco Chronicle)


Liz Duffy Adams is an American playwright with dual Irish citizenship who lives in Alphabet City NYC and Western Massachusetts. She could be described variously as a language playwright––a lover of heightened theatrical language––and a landscape playwright, for whom place is an early spark. Her early work came out of her experimental theater experience and expressed itself in science fiction plays, post- or mid-apocalypse; more recently she has been writing historical plays, in both cases finding it interesting to talk about our present moment through the oblique lens of the past or future. All of her work may be said to be obsessed with how people recreate civilization after catastrophe, whether macro or micro, and despite how serious that sounds her natural métier is comedy. “An artist of playful and highly literate imagination, radical instincts, and sardonic but generous humor” (Robert Avila, San Francisco Bay Guardian), her many other plays include Born With Teeth––Alley Theater premiere which transferred to the Guthrie; Edgerton Foundation New Play Award––and Dog Act, Glickman Award for Best New Play. 

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