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The Rivals

The Rivals
Your Price: $15.95 CDN
Author: Richard Brinsley Sheridan
Publisher: Samuel French
Format: Softcover
ISBN-10: 0874405564
ISBN-13: 9780874405569
Cast Size: 4 women, 12 men

About the Play:

The Rivals is a full-length comedy by Richard Brinsley Sheridan. Wealthy captain Jack Absolute pretends to be poor officer Ensign Beverley to win the romantic Lydia in Richard Brinsley Sheridan's timeless comedy, which also features such characters as oafish Bob Acres, temper-prone Sir Lucius O'Trigger and the immortal Mrs. Malaprop, whose frequent confusion of words and their meanings coined the term "malapropism." Especially recommended for school and contest use.

The Rivals is one of the funniest plays ever written (and only one of a handful of comedies from the 18th century that is still regularly performed). Set in Bath, a British resort town, The Rivals is a rollicking comedy of manners and mistaken identities that details just how far a group of society well-to-dos will go in order to capture the elusive magic of love. Miss Lydia Languish, an idealistic and wealthy young woman, insists on marrying a poor man for the sake of true love; as a result, the equally wealthy Captain Jack Absolute, who loves Lydia body and soul, must offer himself to her in the guise of a poor naval officer. A number of secondary characters take part in Jack's pursuit, including the acrimonious Sir Anthony Absolute, Jack's father; the infamously misspoken Mrs. Malaprop, Lydia's aunt; and the likeable Bob Acres, Jack's former friend and future foe. Filled with extravagant characters, exuberant energy and numerous farcical devices, The Rivals is a brilliant comic masterpiece satirizing the pretentiousness and sentimentality of 18th-century society.

The Rivals was Richard Brinsley Sheridan's first play. It was first performed in 1775 at Covent Garden Theatre, and this charming comedy of manners continues to be widely performed in regional repertory, middle school, high school, college, and community theatre productions.

Cast: 4 women, 12 men

About the Playwright:

Richard Brinsley Sheridan (1751-1816) was a famous Irish-born playwright and poet, best known for his stage plays The School for Scandal and The Rivals. For many years he owned and managed the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, located in London's West End. In addition to his literary pursuits he also found time to be a Member of Parliament, serving the Whig party in three different constituencies over a period of thirty two years.