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N. Duda

“Amphitrion, or Two Sosias” by John Dryden on the stage of a modern English theatre

The article raises the question of the interpretation of the 17th century English theatrical plays on the stage of modern English theatre on the example of John Dryden’s comedy “Amphitryon, or Two Sosias”. The author reveals a new approach of the English director Professor Michael Cordner, whose performances are not historical reenactments with wigs and daggers, but combine ultra-modern means of theatrical video and audio design. Creating subtle allusions with the Restoration Theatre, the director brings into the production the intellectual flëur that is so necessary for an educated theatre-lover. The music of Henry Purcell, which adorned the 1690 production, is presented here as a reminiscence of the 17th century solo song and plays an important dramatic role in the production. Moving away from the traditional “Curtain Tunes” and completely excluding Purcell`s original instrumental music, the director prefers exclusively the solo songs of “British Orpheus”, presenting them to the audience as if in a dull reflection of an ancient mirror. A similar effect is achieved by performing songs without accompaniment, at the moments of stopping the action, static characters on the stage and creating an atmosphere of detachment, timelessness of what is happening. They sound like the voice of an angel who follows events without interfering with their course. The author comes to the conclusion that the highly artistic Baroque musical lyrics, presented in such a quality sounds, is organic and modern in the theatre of the 21st century.

Key words

John Dryden, Henry Purcell, Michael Cordner, Restoration era, the 17th century English theatre.

For citation

Duda N. “Amphitrion, or Two Sosias” by John Dryden on the stage of a modern English theatre // South-Russian Musical Anthology. 2021. No. 3. Pp. 63–68.