Knight of the Burning Pestle (2010)
"That was SO funny! I'm exhausted from laughing so much."
Noises Off meets Don Quixote in this hilarious comedy by one of Shakespeare's most popular contemporary playwrights!
A foolish knight, a rhyming suitor, an angry ghost, a drunken singer, a burning pestle, an unruly audience, some unhappy actors, a squire, a dwarf, a barber, a giant, a father, a daughter, a mother, two sons, poems and prologues and singing and fighting and tricks and treats and maybe even a little romance...
What more could you want in a play?
"I had no idea what to expect, but it was just fantastic! Such a delightful surprise!"
Francis Beaumont's The Knight of the Burning Pestle is a play about a group of actors trying to put on a play. Their performance is interrupted, and a great deal of comic chaos ensues as they try to adjust to the disruption.
The group of actors are forced to introduce a new storyline into their play, and this new storyline is based on the story of Don Quixote — the classic novel by Miguel de Cervantes that had just been written two years before (the first part of Cervantes' novel was published in Spain in 1605, and Beaumont's play was on stage in the London theatres two years later). This makes Knight of the Burning Pestle the earliest dramatic adaptation and the first major artistic response to Cervantes' classic.
"One of the best parts was watching the reactions of the people sitting on the stage, especially the young children. They were laughing so hard and having such a great time!"
It's been one of our goals for a long time to introduce some Renaissance plays by other playwrights into our repertoire. The theatres of Shakespeare's time produced some of the most exciting, entertaining, innovative, and enduring dramatic works ever written. Shakespeare's works stand alone, of course, but there are many, many other plays from this period that are well worth exploring and offer great theatrical experiences that are not exactly like Shakespeare. And we're just the group to bring them to you! Shakespeare will always remain at the heart of what we do, but we're excited about occasionally dipping into the works of the other playwrights of the time and sharing them with our audiences as well.
The Knight of the Burning Pestle is a work of pure comic exuberance, an exceptionally entertaining play that feels delightfully contemporary despite having been written in 1607. Imagine Noises Off combined with Don Quixote, and you'll have some idea of the degree of entertainment in store for you. Shakespeare never attempted anything like this!
* actors shown with an asterisk after their name appear courtesy of the Actor's Equity Association.
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