First Falsehood for over 200 Years

Peter Lathan

In January 2011 Southwark's Union Theatre is present the first production of Double Falsehood, attributed to Shakespeare and Fletcher, since 1792.

The play was premiered on 1727 by English playwright and editor Lewis Theobald at Drury Lane who claimed it was based on a lost play by Shakespeare and John Fletcher of 1613. Although initially popular, it fell out of favour and it's last professional production was in 1792.

Earlier this year Methuen published the text as part of the Arden Shakespeare series which re-ignited the discussion as to what, if any, of the text was written by Shakespeare. Nottingham Playhouse gave it a rehearsed reading as part of its Lost Shakespeare Day in October this year and, under its 1613 title The History of Cardenio, the RSC will perform it in the newly refurbished Swan Theatre re-imagined and directed by Gregory Doran.

However before then MokitaGrit Productions in association with The Steam Industry is to present it at the Union from 21st January (previews from 18th) until 13th February. It will be directed by Phil Willmott who said, "This has got to be the perfect night out for Shakespeare fans. You get a thrilling evening of loyalty, villainy, vibrant poetry and surprisingly modern psychological motivation in a close encounter with what may or may not be a 'lost' Shakespeare play, plus you’ll be able to show off afterwards with your own theories on the play's authenticity!"

Double Falsehood is a fast moving tale of young love, treachery and reconciliation. The Duke’s youngest son rapes a village girl and sets out to steal his friend’s bride. The aftermath of these traumatic events drives the four into the wilderness and the Duke’s eldest son must find a way of reconciling everyone and reuniting the missing young people with their squabbling parents.