Mortal Terror

by  Robert Brustein

Full Length Play, Dramatic Comedy  /  6m, 1f

Mortal Terror is set in 1605, the year of the Gunpowder Plot, a terrorist conspiracy to blow up the houses of Parliament. Shakespeare, delicately balancing his allegiances to assure his own survival, is commissioned by King James to write a play to justify his right to the throne. That play is Macbeth.  

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  • Cast Size

    Cast Size

    6m, 1f
  • Duration

    Duration

    105 Minutes
  • SubGenre

    Subgenre

    Period, Docudrama/Historic
  • Accolades

    Accolades

    Not Applicable
  • Audience

    Target Audience

    • Appropriate for all audiences

Additional Info

Mortal Terror is set in 1605, the year of the Gunpowder Plot, a terrorist conspiracy to blow up the houses of Parliament. Shakespeare, delicately balancing his allegiances to assure his own survival, is commissioned by King James to write a play to justify his right to the throne. That play is Macbeth.  

Mortal Terror is the second piece in a trilogy of plays by Robert Brustein about the life of Shakespeare. The trilogy begins with The English Channel and concludes with The Last Will. 
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Reviews

"Will picks up his quill pen in 'Mortal Terror,' a witty and worldly consideration of the compromises made in the name of art, the abuses of power perpetrated in the name of ideology (in this case, the ostensibly divine right of kings), the violence committed in the name of religion, and the multifarious forces that converge to create that mysterious thing called theater." - boston.com

"But even as Brustein thrusts us into the world of England in 1605, complete with quasi-Elizabethan dialogue, he sketches parallels to modern-day America. " - boston.com

"Brustein’s own love of language, and his skill in using it, furnish ample reason to see 'Mortal Terror'" - boston.com 

"Playwright Robert Brustein brings the spirit of William Shakespeare back to the stage with his imaginative story of political upheaval..." - Stage Source 

Keywords

Politics

Considerations

Performing Groups

  • High School/Secondary
  • College Theatre / Student
  • Community Theatre
  • Dinner Theatre
  • Professional Theatre
  • Reader's Theatre
  • Large Stage
  • Blackbox / Second Stage /Fringe Groups

Cautions

  • No Special Cautions

License details

  • Minimum Fee: $75 per performance

Production

Details

  • Time Period: 16th Century / Elizabethan
  • Duration: 105 Minutes
  • Setting: The time is 1605—just two years after a recurrence of the fearsome bubonic pestilence called The Black Death which had hit London once again. The action moves freely from place to place so the scenery should be spare, suggestive, versatile. 
  • Additional Features: Not Applicable
  • Features / Contains: Period Costumes

Music

  • Musical Style: N/A (Not a musical)
  • Vocal Demands: N/A (Not a musical)
  • Chorus Size: N/A (Not a musical)

Casting

6m, 1f

WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE
SIR JOHN HARINGTON
KING JAMES
BEN JOHNSON
MARSTON/GUY FAWKES
QUEEN ANNE
CATESBY

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Cast Attributes

  • Strong Role for Leading Man (Star Vehicle)

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Authors

Robert Brustein

Robert Brustein served as the founding director of the Yale Repertory and American Repertory Theaters, and has supervised well over two hundred productions, acting in eight and directing twelve. He has written eleven adaptations for the American Repertory Theater and ...

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Mortal Terror premiered at the Modern Theatre in Boston in September 2011.  

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