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The Roving Park Players present Fanny Burney’s satirical delight, THE WiTLiNGS,

on February 19, 20, 21, 22, 26, 27, 28 and March 1, 2015,

at Good Samaritan Center, 3500 Hilyard in Eugene.

All performances begin at 7:00 pm. Admission is FREE!

Call 541-914-2374 or 541-686-2738 for more information.

Production Details:
THE WITLINGS by Fanny Burney, adapted by Victoria Harkovitch

Cast of Characters

Beaufort, a lover
Censor, a critic
Dabbler, a poet
Jack, half-brother to Beaufort
Codger, father to Jack and stepfather to Beaufort

Lady Smatter, aunt to Beaufort, founder of a literary club
Cecilia, object of Beaufort’s admiration
Mrs. Sapient, a lady with literary affectations
Mrs. Voluble, a landlady
Mrs. Wheedle, a milliner
Miss Jenny, Mrs. Wheedle's apprentice
Williams, Lady Smatter's butler
Betty, Mrs. Voluble's maid

The Witlings—A Synopsis

Beaufort, the nephew and adopted son of Lady Smatter, and Cecelia, an orphan of independent means, are soon to be married. The bridegroom-to-be and his best friend, Censor, await the bride-to-be at Mrs. Wheedle’s millinery shop, but she is late. Jack, Beaufort’s stepbrother, rushes in to say that Cecilia can’t come unchaperoned.

Beaufort finds Cecilia at his aunt’s, along with his stepfather, Mr. Codger. Dabbler, a poet idolized by Lady Smatter, and Mrs. Sapient, a member of Lady Smatter’s literary club, appear.

Jack arrives to say that Cecilia’s bank has failed and she is now penniless. Lady Smatter insists that Beaufort give her up, causing Cecilia to flee to Mrs. Voluble’s, a rooming house where Dabbler is a tenant.

Lady Smatter enlists the help of Censor to communicate with Cecilia. Beaufort begs Censor for Cecilia’s location, but, he refuses. Censor visits Cecilia at Mrs. Voluble’s, but she rejects his help and renounces Beaufort for not coming to reassure her himself.

Back at Lady Smatter’s, her literary club is meeting. Censor arrives, reports to Lady Smatter, then learns a surprising and useful secret about Dabbler. Meanwhile, Mrs. Wheedle and Mrs. Voluble support Cecilia, who vows to leave the country. Mrs. Sapient, curious to find out whether Dabbler is courting Cecilia, arrives. She and Mrs. Wheedle are surprised by Dabbler’s return—Mrs. Sapient, fearing detection, hides in the closet.

Beaufort tracks Cecilia down and the two are reconciled as Lady Smatter, with Mr. Codger, hurries in. Lady Smatter threatens disinheritance; Censor arrives, and, armed with Dabbler’s secret, tricks Lady Smatter into consenting to Beaufort and Cecilia’s marriage. Mrs. Sapient is discovered in the closet—she and Lady Smatter confront one another, making the future of the literary club, much to Censor’s delight, seem doubtful.

Fanny Burney and THE WITLINGS

In keeping with our commitment to stage plays which have not had the exposure they deserve, Roving Park Players begins its 8th season with The Witlings by Fanny Burney, a hilarious send-up of the literary scene of mid-18th century London, featuring characters and situations which can’t help but resonate for modern audiences.

Burney is best-known for her novels, but what she really wanted to do was write plays. With offers of help from the likes of Richard Brinsley Sheridan, and on the coattails of her first published novel’s remarkable success, the 25-year-old writer began The Witlings in 1779. But, after reading an early draft of the play, both her father and a close family friend warned against staging it.

Although the play centers around the romantic adventures of two young lovers, Burney used her tale to ridicule whole segments of London society, most notably the pretentious literary clubs that were all the rage at that time. Since Burney and her father had only recently been accepted by London’s literary lions, it hardly seemed appropriate to lampoon the very people they hoped to impress. With reluctance, she abandoned the project—it would be more than 200 years before this play saw the light of day again.

This Season:
The Roving Park Players 2015 Season

Fanny Burney’s THE WITLINGS
Adapted & Directed by Victoria Harkovitch
Performances indoors
FEBRUARY 19, 20, 21, 22 & 26, 27, 28 and March 1, 2015

Adapted & Directed by Laura Robinson
Performances in the parks
JUNE 11, 12, 13, 14 & 18, 19, 20, 21

Frances Hodgson Burnett’s THE SECRET GARDEN
Adapted & Directed by Bryan Haynes
Performances in the parks
AUGUST 6, 7, 8, 9 & 13, 14, 15 & 16

Directed by Danette Lamson
Performances indoors
NOVEMBER 12, 13, 14, 15 & 19, 20, 21, 22

Call (541) 914-2374 or (541) 337-6144 for more information.