Nearly midnight: a magician waits. He made a deal with a devil, and the devil is about to come for his due. You think you know the story. But you don’t. This is not John Faustus of Wittenberg, but Peter Fabell of Edmonton. And the play is The Merry Devil of Edmonton, the popular early 1600s hit by the King’s Men, Shakespeare’s company.
Like the other plays read by KiSS this term (Fair Em, Mucedorus) Merry Devil was attributed to Shakespeare as early as the 1630s. Edmonton was country then, and this rural play contains romantic lovers crossed by parents, a facilitating sorcerer, poachers, friars and nuns, misadventures in the dark and reconciliation in the morning. With clear resemblances to Shakespeare, Marlowe and Greene, it exemplifies another strand of the King’s Men’s work at much the same time they were presenting Hamlet, Measure for Measure, The Moor of Venice and King Lear.
We’ll follow the usual KiSS table reading format: just come along, choose a part or have one given to you, and after a brief intro (musical and verbal) we’ll read through without stopping and without cuts. You don’t need to have special experience or knowledge, you don’t have to know the play already. Copies of a modern-spelling script will be available, but you can also download it from here (merry-devil-of-edmonton-for-kiss).
KiSS reads The Merry Devil of Edmonton on Thursday, 1st December at our usual venue, the Gallery at the Rose in Kingston, at our usual starting time, 6.30 pm.