Reblog: Arden’s Afterlives, parts 1 & 2

Two more posts from me now up at the Brave Spirits blog. This time I look at afterlives of the Ardens’ story. First it happened, then it appeared in legal record, then in a mostly reputable history book, and then onstage in the version we think of today. And it’s popularity didn’t stop there. A ballad written from the point of view of an apologetic (though dead) Alice Arden found its way into print in the 1630s, and in 1759 a second adaptation of the murder appeared onstage at Covent Garden.

Part 1: ‘Taken from life’ compares costuming choices from the Lillo/Hoadly play (recorded in detailed watercolors by W. Loftis) with the current Brave Spirits production.

Sneak peek:

Mr Harley as Mosby (W. Loftis, artist).
Mr Harley as Mosby (W. Loftis, artist).

Part 2: The Covers takes a closer look at ‘The complaint and lamentation of Mistress Arden of Faversham’ as part of a trend of killer-wife ballads. Originally set to the well-known tune ‘Fortune my Foe’, Zach Roberts has reversed the cover song process, and re-tuned the music to the lamentation’s lyrics. Donate to the Indiegogo campaign (link in original BST post) to receive a copy of his version. In the meantime, listen to an unaccompanied soloist sing the original melody at the English Broadside Ballad Archive.

Catch strains of Roberts’s update in the trailer below.

Arden of Faversham, directed by Dan Crane. Tickets still available for shows April 15-18, 2015 at ATLAS Performing Arts Center. Buy Tickets Here

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