Copy of The Recruiting Officer by George Farquhar – Rhinegold Publishing

Copy of The Recruiting Officer by George Farquhar


For many of us for the past few years, The Recruiting Officer has been a ‘play within a play’, the drama that performs a vital role in itself in reforming the convict characters and restoring their place in society in Timberlake Wertenbaker’s Our Country’s Good.

This Queen Anne period comedy, however, written in 1706 deserves considering on its own merit. It was the most widely performed comedy of its day and its themes are wide-ranging: inequality, corruption, deception, ambition and gender politics all feature. It is dated, but it is funny. It's satirical without being too caught up in its own cleverness. It also lends itself to exploring other plays and practitioners, which might help form a pathway to studying other areas of the new course. The edition I shall be referencing is the New Mermaid version published by A&C Black/WW Norton.

Topic headings

  • Comedy of manners (and the comedy of humours)
  • Performance style
  • Themes
  • Context: who is the face on the shilling?
  • War in The Recruiting Officer
  • Exploring the theme of war in two naturalistic plays
  • Brecht and war: Mother Courage and her children
  • Design and atmosphere
  • Women and sexual politics
  • Practitioners and reviews

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