‘The Witch of Edmonton’ by Thomas Dekker, William Rowley, and John Ford

witch_edmonton_1609I didn’t realise that this was released yesterday, but here it is! I play two minor characters in this – the 3rd Countryman and the 3rd Clown.

Mother Elizabeth Sawyer is a poor, lonely, and unfairly ostracized old woman with nothing left to lose. Frank is a poor farmer who intends to marry his beloved Winnifred, who is pregnant with his child, but is pressured to marry Susan, the rich yeoman’s daughter. Young Cuddy Banks is a clown who pines after a girl who doesn’t love him. When Mother Sawyer turns to witchcraft after being unjustly accused of it, a talking devil-dog named Tom (performed by a human actor) comes to her aid, becoming her familiar and only friend. Though she intends to get her revenge, little does she know many of those around her are only too willing to sell their souls to the devil all by themselves. The play was inspired by the real-life story of Elizabeth Sawyer, who had been executed for witchcraft on 19 April 1621, and draws heavily on a pamphlet by Henry Goodcole, The wonderful discoverie of Elizabeth Sawyer, Witch (1621). While the pamphlet may be very ready to capitalize on the sensational story of a witch and portray Sawyer as simply a bad woman, the play does not permit an easy and comfortable demonization of her. It presents her as a product of society rather than an anomaly in it. – Summary by Mary Kay

The Witch of Edmonton by Thomas Dekker, William Rowley, and John Ford

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