The story of A Night with the Knight of the Burning Pestle takes place one evening – 21 December 2016, to be precise – during and around a performance of Francis Beaumont’s play The Knight of the Burning Pestle. The play itself has many layers, being actually two plays within a play. I took it all one step further by wrapping another story around the original, about a romance between two of the actors during this modern-day production, and following them backstage.
If that sounds confusing, it probably is! But the sheer sense of chaos, the exuberant feeling that anything might happen and probably will, is one of the joys of Beaumont’s play.
As a way of helping with the potential confusion, I’ve created a mock theatre programme for the production I’m writing about. It includes short articles on Beaumont and his play, along with information about the characters, and the structure and locations of the scenes. You might care to keep it nearby while reading, just in case (like any actor on any given night) you would like a little prompt now and then.
The programme is free to download, and I’ll have printed copies (also free!) with me if you come find me at various events.
Here is that link again, for the 8-page PDF mock theatre programme!
Image credits, with thanks:
- Front and back covers: WaffleBoo on iStockphoto.com
- Francis Beaumont portrait by Henry Bone, after unknown artist, pencil drawing squared in ink for transfer, September 1815: NPG D17160 National Portrait Gallery, London
- The Knight of the Burning Pestle title page, 1635: Wikimedia Commons
- Centre spread: GraphicStock.com
- Georgiana: Mrs John Montresor (1778) by John Singleton Copley: Wikimedia Commons
- Nell: A Blonde Woman (c.1520) by Palma Vecchio: Wikimedia Commons
- Rafe: Self-portrait at age 24 (1804) by Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres: Wikimedia Commons
- Luce: Self-portrait (1910) by Ester Ellqvist: Wikimedia Commons
- Humphrey: Self-portrait (1828) by Ferdinand Georg Waldmüller: Wikimedia Commons
- Jasper: Self-portrait (1838) by Adolph Tidemand: Wikimedia Commons
I had fun with finding portraits to serve as the actors’ headshots – which, in real theatre programmes, often look little like the present-day actor let alone the character they’re playing. But please do feel free to imagine the characters’ appearance in any way you wish!