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“America’s First Play” Comes to Fraunces Tavern Museum

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Downtown performance company Peculiar Works Project and the Fraunces Tavern Museum are teaming up to bring the first (published) American play, “ANDROBOROS: Villain of the State,” to the historic landmark for its world premier. The piece was written by Governor Robert Hunter in 1714.  It mixes Elizabethan language, commedia del arte and the politics of its day.  It has been newly adapted by S.M. Dale to include original music and dancing from a 10-member cast of vaudeville performers. Co-founder Ralph Lewis directs.

Historical notes from the Trinity Church on Wall Street’s website offer a fascinating summary of the The Vestment Scandal of 1714, on which the play is based:

“Printed on August 1, 1714, it’s a gross—and funny—satire of colonial politics and power struggles, written by Robert Hunter, the royal governor of New York. And, fascinatingly, it’s all tied up in Trinity Church. The “Fizle” of the dedication refers to the Rev. William Vesey, the parish’s first rector.

Androboros (which means “man-eater” in corrupted Greek) takes aim at Hunter’s enemies in colonial New York: his lieutenant governor, Francis Nicholson, known in the play as Androborus; the Rev. Vesey, called Fizle; and members of the colonial assembly, given names like Doodlesack and Mulligrub…”

Performances are at 7:30pm, Fri. – Sun., through the month of October.  Go here for tickets and more information.


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