The English Channel

by  Robert Brustein

Full Length Play, Dramatic Comedy  /  3m, 1f

The English Channelexamines the murky relationship between great writers and their proclivity to “borrow” ideas and material, tracing Shakespeare’s relationship with the Earl of Southampton, the Dark Lady of the Sonnets, and Christopher Marlowe during the turbulent months before Marlowe’s death.

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The English Channel

by  Robert Brustein

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  • Cast Size

    Cast Size

    3m, 1f
  • Duration

    Duration

    90 minutes
  • SubGenre

    Subgenre

    Biography, Period, Docudrama/Historic
  • Accolades

    Accolades

    Not Applicable
  • Audience

    Target Audience

    • Appropriate for all audiences

Additional Info

The English Channel examines the murky relationship between great writers and their proclivity to “borrow” ideas and material, tracing Shakespeare’s relationship with the Earl of Southampton, the Dark Lady of the Sonnets, and Christopher Marlowe during the turbulent months before Marlowe’s death. The first piece in a trilogy of plays by Robert Brustein about the life of Shakespeare. The second installment is Mortal Terror, followed by The Last Will

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Accolades

  • Nominee! 2008 Pulitzer Prize

Reviews

"Robert Brustein is the rarest of rare amphibians: a powerful theatre practitioner who is also a powerful critic [...] Savvy, fearless, opinionated, and fathomlessly curious, he is at once steeped in the classics and alert to the most recent tremors on the cultural seismograph." - Stephen Greenblatt

"How did Shakespeare do it? It’s an irresistible question for scholars, artists and critics, and while Robert Brustein, one of the true Renaissance men of the modern stage, has played all of these roles, he approaches the subject with humility." - The New York Times

"Including digressions into religious, political and social debates of the day, the play imagines Shakespeare as a man very much of his time, preserving the mystery of his genius while presenting him as willing to do anything in the service of his art. It illustrates something Mr. Brustein once wrote: 'Playwriting is not so much a craft as an obsession.'" - The New York Times

Considerations

Performing Groups

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

Cautions

  • Caution Mild Adult Mild Adult Themes

License details

  • Minimum Fee: $75 per performance

Production

Details

  • Time Period: 16th Century / Elizabethan
  • Duration: 90 minutes
  • Setting: The action takes place during the plague year, 1593, in a room in the Mermaid Tavern.
  • 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

3m, 1f
WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE (WILL), 29
HENRY (HAL) WRIOTHESLEY (pronounced “Rizley”), Earl of Southampton, 19
CHRISTOPHER MARLOWE (KIT), 29
EMILIA LANIER, 23
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Cast Attributes

  • Ensemble cast
  • 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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The English Channel premiered at The Vineyard Playhouse on Martha's Vineyard in September of 2007. 

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