A last hurrah for Shakespeare!


As part of this year’s worldwide Shakespeare 400 celebrations, commemorating the death of the playwright in 1616, Rye Arts Festival is putting on a play called For All Time on Monday September 19. And the play’s subject matter is Shakespeare and his collaborator, one of Rye’s most famous sons, John Fletcher, who was born in what is now Fletcher’s House tea rooms, by the Church in Lion Street.

The play is set one night in 1613. And it is a play about writing a play. Because Will and John meet up in a room above a pub in London, just around the corner from the Globe, and they have until the morning to complete their latest offering. And Will isn’t happy because he is waiting for the young whipper-snapper Fletcher to turn up. At last he does.

However, as the deadline approaches Will, in particular, seems to have lost his creative mojo! His theatre has burned down. He is tired of London, he is tired of the theatrical world and its demands to keep writing a new hit play and he is tired of life!

Will has a plan of sorts and has worked out the tactics for the night: “You do the good bits. I’ll do the bad bits and we’ll end with a song!”

The ale keeps coming, thanks to Margaret, the attentive pub landlady, and the pair’s creative juices ebb and flow. They laugh, cry, crack jokes and become maudlin as they become increasingly tired and memories fade. But, being pros, they get on with the job in hand to meet the morning deadline to hand in the script for… The Two Noble Kinsmen. Except it appears that it is Fletcher who is doing most of the work as the tired, older playwright knocks back the ale and flirts with the landlady, who it appears is no stranger to his advances!

This is a funny and moving play, admirably performed by a cast of professional actors from Fletcher Productions. For All Time enjoyed a week-long sell-out in the Spring, when it was put on in London with Southwark Playhouse, above the famous George coaching Inn, just around the corner from the Globe Theatre.
The Two Noble Kinsmen turned out to be Shakespeare’s last play and last week a new production of it by the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) opened at the Swan Theatre in Statford upon Avon, also as part of the Shakespeare 400 Celebrations.
Fletcher Productions is very excited that the RSC has agreed a cross marketing exercise, whereby For All Time is being promoted at the theatre in Stratford upon Avon!
For All Time has just one performance in Rye at 7pm on Monday September 19 at the Rye Creative Centre Theatre, and tickets cost £15. For more information and to book tickets online go to http://www.ryeartsfestival.co.uk or contact the Box Office on 01797 224442.

The Two Noble Kinsmen, however, runs until February 2017. For more information check https://www.rsc.org.uk/the-two-noble-kinsmen/about-the-play

Photo: courtesy Rye Arts Festival

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