Wiltshire Creative today announce the world première of Making Massinger, an elegantly witty but passionate revenge tragedy written by Simon Butteriss and directed by Butteriss and Wiltshire Creative Artistic Director Gareth Machin.
This new audio play is performed by Samuel Barnett (Phillip Massinger), Edward Bennett (William Herbert, Earl of Pembroke), Hubert Burton (John Fletcher), Julia Hills (Katherine Mompesson), Jane How (Mary, Dowager Countess of Pembroke), Nina Wadia (Mistress Froth). Recorded on the main stage of Salisbury Playhouse, Making Massinger is free to listen to and available now at www.wiltshirecreative.co.uk/whats-on/online/making-massinger/ until 31 August.
Making Massinger joins the dots between the very few historical facts available about the life of Salisbury-born playwright Philip Massinger; a playwright whose output, alone and in collaboration, matched or exceeded that of his contemporary William Shakespeare, but whose name has been virtually forgotten. Written in the style of a Massinger revenge tragicomedy, Making Massinger sets out to discover the truth behind the playwright’s descent into relative obscurity.
In order to write his passionately argued plays, the play imagines that Massinger had to endure the sexual assault and rejection of his patrons and the betrayal of his friends and colleagues. His nemesis, however, was the malice of self-righteous philistines who hated his ability to turn their moral certainties upside down, who were intolerant of his tolerance, who engineered that his published plays should be attributed to Beaumont and Fletcher, and who contrived to destroy his unpublished plays. Massinger was, in modern parlance, cancelled.
Simon Butteriss: “Intrigued by the fact that Philip Massinger shared the Southwark Cathedral grave of John Fletcher, I began to root out the few facts available and join the dots with fictional but historically plausible threads. It was fascinating to immerse myself in the struggles of an artist of that period, to be struck by similarities between the hurdles, joys and frustrations of an artist in Massinger’s times and those we encounter in our own, to explore the mystery of what happened to him and his legacy, and to attempt to create a play – a revenge tragicomedy – in the style of so unjustly neglected a playwright.”
Making Massinger was commissioned by Wiltshire Creative (an organisation that brings together the energy and ambition of Salisbury Arts Centre, Salisbury International Arts Festival and Salisbury Playhouse) and adapted for audio-transmission by Simon Butteriss.