Photo by Petronella Ytsma
"Or" at Park Square Theatre
Emily Gunyou Halaas
According to director Leah Cooper, Lynn Durry Adams’s play Or “is a slamming-door sex farce and a Shakespearean lyrical ode to free love.” Set in 1666 Restoration England, the play is a fictional imagining of a love threesome between Aphra Behn, England’s first woman playwright, King Charles II, and Nell Gwyn, the lead actress of the day.
Behn’s plays are getting wider circulation these days, but she is still relatively unknown, “probably because she’s a woman,” Cooper says. “She’s a must for fans of Restoration comedy.”
Historically, the mid-1600s was a time of great freedom in England. When Charles II was restored to the throne, after the repressive regime of Oliver Cromwell, he created a cultural environment that made it possible for Behn to become a professional playwright. It was also something of a post-apocalyptic world, following the great plague and the fire of London—a time, says Cooper, “when everything was up for grabs, and you could rethink a new world.” Feb. 22–March 17. Park Square Theatre, 20 W. 7th Place, St. Paul, 651-291-7005, parksquaretheatre.org