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OSF Stages July 18 Play Reading





Female Playwright’s 18th-century Hit Fell Into Obscurity

Ashland, Ore.—The Oregon Shakespeare Festival will stage a reading of Hannah Cowley’s The Belle’s Stratagem at 10 a.m. Friday, July 18 in the Angus Bowmer Theatre.
     The reading will be directed by Davis McCallum, OSF’s 2003 Phil Killian Directing Fellow and assistant director for Richard II and Lorca in a Green Dress.
     Mr. McCallum notes that The Belle’s Stratagem, written in 1780, was one of the most popular plays on the London stage at the end of the 18th century.  Victorian ambivalence about the legitimacy of female playwrights, however, led to the play’s disappearance from the standard repertoire. The lack of a modern edition ensured its continued obscurity into the 20th and 21st century. The play has not been staged since 1850. 
     The Belle’s Stratagem is a comedy of manners about sexual mores and gender, bringing together two stories: Letitia Hardy’s paradoxical scheme to win the heart of her betrothed, Doricourt; and the introduction of naďve Lady Frances Touchwood to fashionable London society, to the great consternation of her jealous husband, Sir George.
     The cast will include Gregory Linington, Heather Robison, Michael J. Hume, Demetra Pittman, Mark Murphey, Linda K. Morris, Shad Willingham, Maya Thomas, Saffron Henke, Richard Elmore, Gerson Dacanay, Mirron E.Willis and Juan Rivera LeBron.
     Tickets are available at the Box Office at 15 South Pioneer Street, or call 541-482-4331. Tickets are also available to the eight shows playing in repertory. Check ticket availability at

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