top of page

About ANIMAL MAGNETISM

Red Bull Theater's reading of Elizabeth Inchbald's ANIMAL MAGNETISM will premiere online at 7:30 PM ET on January 23, 2023. The recording of the performance will available for on-demand streaming until Sunday, January 29 at 11:59 PM ET. Get full details here.

Animal Magnetism is Inchbald’s seventh play. Written to be performed as an afterpiece – a shorter play (usually a farce) that would follow longer comedies and tragedies during a night at the theater – it was adapted from Le Médecin Malgré tout le monde by Antoine-Jean-Bourlin Dumaniant. Inchbald’s play remained popular well into the nineteenth century. Indeed, Charles Dickens directed and acted in it with his amateur company many times between 1848 and 1857. He wrote that all could “be made so delightfully rapid, and the situations are wonderfully good” and that he had “seen people laugh at the piece until they have hung over the front of the boxes like ripe fruit.” Most immediately, the play responds to the widely discussed theories and treatments of the German physician, Franz Anton Mesmer (1734-1815). Mesmer (from whom we derive the words “mesmerism” and “mesmeric”) believed that what he called “animal magnetism” – the use of magnets – could be u