She Stoops to Conquer
Could an 18th century play ever provide a better insight into contemporary relationships than last night’s episode of Eastenders? Director Jonathan Munby thinks so. Apparently, it’s all in the framing: in this new production for the King’s, Goldsmith’s classic comedy of misunderstandings and mistaken identities has been given an intriguing contemporary twist thanks to a new prologue by Bryony Lavery.
‘Why do we need to see another production of She Stoops to Conquer was my first thought when I was offered the show,’ admits Munby. ‘So I went about finding a contemporary playwright who would understand the function of a prologue in terms of introducing major themes of the play but also using it as a framework which reaches out to a contemporary audience. One of the things the play looks at very specifically is the pressure young people are under to fall in love and make relationships work; what we see in the prologue is a contemporary couple desperately trying to define their relationship.’
If star-crossed love wasn’t enough to satiate your appetite, the play also explores the tension that’s born out of both class difference and our 21st century city-centric lives. In addition, Munby reveals that audiences will also be treated to an exclusive: ‘There was a song that was written for the original version of the play which was cut because the actress playing Kate couldn’t sing it. To my knowledge that song has never been performed since and I’ve reinstated it.’