The Broken Token: A Play by Elizabeth Kuti

Performance with Q & A

Written by Elizabeth Kuti
Directed by Robert Price for Lubkinfinds

Cast: Jessica Carroll and Peter Hannah

An "Arts on the Grounds" performance at the William Andrews Clark Memorial Library

It’s 1802 and England is in the grip of the invasion crisis. Jack has been acting the hero for seven years, while Nancy has just been acting. Against all the odds, he has fulfilled the task she set him . . . but on his return he finds everything has changed.

This is the first airing for a new play which blends popular folk-songs from England in the eighteenth century, with highly theatrical storytelling. The Broken Token weaves together the lost histories of the strolling actors who brought theatre to the people, and the boy soldiers of the Napoleonic Wars, to create a new telling of an ancient story.

Tickets: $25 general admission; $10 USC/UCLA students (student ID# must be entered in the "Registration Confirmation #" at check-out).

Tickets must be purchased by April 4, 2014.

Saturday, April 12, 2014
UCLA, William Andrews Clark Memorial Library
4pm (Q&A to follow performance)

This event is co-sponsored by the USC-Huntington Early Modern Studies Institute and the William Andrews Clark Memorial Library.

Elizabeth Kuti, University of Essex

Elizabeth Kuti is a playwright and academic, whose plays for the theatre include Fishskin Trousers (2013); The Six-Days World (2007); The Sugar Wife (2006); Treehouses (2000) and The Whisperers (1999). She has a particular interest in the eighteenth century, and has most recently published a chapter in Scheherazade’s Children edited by Marina Warner and Philip Kennedy (New York University Press, 2013) on the eighteenth-century melodrama Blue-beard and its connection with the 1001 Nights. Elizabeth has written extensively for BBC radio, where her plays have included Mr Fielding’s Scandal-shop (2005) and two series adapted from Addison and Steele’s periodical, The Spectator, dramatized as Dear Mr Spectator (2010-11).

This new play, The Broken Token, is informed by Kuti’s most recent research project into the strolling actors of eastern England, a band of players known as His Majesty’s Servants, the Norwich Company of Comedians. The aim of the research project was to uncover details of these actors, their lives, loves and deaths, their working habits and practices. This play is partly inspired by the question of how theatre functioned in a time of war and international crisis; and also by a desire to consider eighteenth-century theatre within a context not of London, and the eighteenth century we think we know, of refinement and polish; but in a rougher context, of the people who lived at the margins – both geographically, and in other ways – of English society.

Image: Thomas Rowlandson, House Breakers (c. 1788). Courtesy Huntington Library. Bequest of Albert M. Weil.