The Alchemist is set during a plague epidemic in the Liberty of Blackfriars in 1610, and was first performed on tour in 1610 by the company whose London home at Blackfriars was temporarily closed due to a plague epidemic. The play is a sublimely accomplished satirical farce about people's diverse dreams of self-refinement: they all want to transform themselves into something nobler, richer, more powerful, more virile, just as base metal was supposed to be transformed into gold in the alchemical process. During their master's absence from the house, the con-artists Face, Subtle and Doll Common dupe a series of 'customers' whose greed leads them to believe in the existence of the fabled Philosopher's Stone. As their equipment boils over and blows up in the offstage kitchen, so their plot heats up and is exploded by the sceptical Surly and the arrival of their master, who quietly pockets their proceeds and marries the rich widow to boot. With a lively, informative introduction and helpful commentary notes, this student edition discusses the play in its theatrical and historical context and brings its farcial comedy to life. New Mermaids is a series of modernised and fully annotated classic plays. They are edited and updated by experienced teachers who are internationally recognised as authorities in their field. They are ideal for actors, theatre-goers and students, printed in a clear, easy-to-use format, with annotations below the text and a comprehensive introduction.
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129 x 198 mm
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