The Recruiting Officer

George Farquhar wrote this play in 1706. He used contemporary events, such as the Duke of Marlborough's success over the French at tthe battle of Blenheim in 1704, as background to his play. He had been a recruiting officer himself in Lichfield and so was conversant with all the tricks and corrupt practices employed by the army to lure men from the Shire towns into Marlborough's army. Kite and Plume work together brilliantly to their mutual advantage and one cannot help but admire their verbal dexterity and the tricks, such as the fortune telling, as a means of gaining recruits. The love plot too is based on personal experience as Farquhar himself courted and married a girl he believed to be an heiress who turned out to be penniless. Hence his attitude to women and money expressed by Worthy and Plume. The plot, with its complicated twists and turns, its love interest, sexual innuendo, gallant young men and outspoken young women, is typical of Restoration Drama, but the tone is lighter, less cynical and more fun.

Year: 2001
Date: 14-16 June
Venue: Charlbury Memorial Hall
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