by John Lyly (c. 1590)
“Herein hath Nature gone beyond herself.” (Nature, Act I, Scene i)
Nature, the pre-eminent deity, is female and she has created the universe and all things living. Four young shepherds, residents of Utopia, complain that they have no female companion so Nature agrees to create the perfect female figure, Pandora.
The envious gods, represented by the seven planets, decide to take revenge upon Pandora according to their dominant features: Saturn (melancholy); Jupiter (pride); Mars (aggression); Sol (poetry and healing); Venus (sexuality); Mercury (deceit); Luna (changeability).
In each subsequent scene, we see the four shepherds suffer under Pandora’s various moods, as she is influenced by one planet after another.
John Lyly’s The Woman in the Moon is Lyly’s only play written in blank verse. Although primarily a comedy, it is also a strange, unearthly, esoteric mixture of genres and tones. Furthermore, it is a quite extraordinary investigation of female subjectivity.
It was first performed c. 1590 by “Paul’s Boys”, one of the two leading boys’ companies of the day. This is the fourth time Edward’s Boys have taken on Lyly, following acclaimed productions of Endymion in 2009, Mother Bombie in 2010 and Galatea in 2014.
There will be five performances in the UK.
Full price: £10; Concessions: £8
Tickets for all performances are available online via https://www.ticketsource.co.uk/kes and in person from the school Box Office.