No. 78 My Restoration of Restoration
Or How I Never Stopped Loving Periwigs and Petticoats
I love when an article I come across is relevant for me and my work. Such is the case with Tuesday’s run of The Guardian featuring “Sex, Money, and Idiots in Power: Restoration Comedy’s Endless Appeal” by David Jays. Restoration Theatre in The Guardian
In 2018, I wrote a short Restoration play for Seattle’s 14/48 Projects. It was so much fun I decided to expand it into a full - length play. I am still plugging away at it but find creating the heightened language comes fairly easily to me.
I am a long time devotee of Restoration Theatre thanks to the excellent teaching of Professor Maureen O’Reilly at Western Washington University in the ’80s. O’Reilly taught with a dishy enthusiasm that made every old play seem new and exciting.
I still have the textbooks from that class and am constantly referring to them with my writing of The Venetian Vow or She Would If She Could. The first part of my title and the basic plot are a heavy nod to Otway’s Venice Preserved and the second title is the actual title of a lesser-known play by George Etherege.
As the title of Jays’ article suggests, my play is about sex, money, and most certainly - idiots in power. In fact, the part of the play I struggle with the most is writing the idiot in power -- the character’s resemblance to Trump is so disruptive as to make it difficult to get past my disgust. Right now I am studying other idiot dictators (and there are many) to give me a broader cloth to cut from.
In my play, women will be playing men and men will be had by women. It will fall both into tragedy and comedy.
Here is the prologue:
The Venetian Vow
She Would if She Could
by Pattie Miles
We hear a Baroque version of Madonna’s In Vogue performed live by the characters of Thunder and Lightning (castratoesque). All actors perform a Baroque social dance during the song. At the end of the song, the stage goes to black except for a single spotlight. Each actor stands in the spotlight for their speech.
Like diva Madonna, we might at middle-age
Do better than to prance upon the stage
Yet such is our lot, for money we have not
Thus, humbly we assuage your patronage
With her play, our poet, she’s concubined us
Last night she even red and white wined us
With rapt flattery, she’s moonshined us
And made us her succubus cunnilingus
And now our walk of shame is brought before you
If only we’d insisted on a curfew
To such a wench we owe our soulless rent
But you dear audience are indeed heaven sent
So pardon gentles all our play of vice
And if you want to leave, please do thing twice
‘Tis true we aging whores, are not youth’s ambassadors
But a cantaloupe when ripe is a delicious bite
Tonight a political plot is uncovered in old Venice
Of conspirators against a Senator’s menace
Heaven help the politician who sleeps with spies
He will soon learn at whose bosom he lives or dies
Prepare yourself for petticoats and daggers
You’ll be seeing rakish men and ladies with saucy swaggers
It is our delight to be with you tonight
And now an orgiastic abundance of LIGHT!
The stage fills with bright morning light.