Tonight we open our latest production, The London Merchant (or The History of George Barnwell).
First performed in 1731, The London Merchant tells the story of of a young apprentice led astray by a courtesan.
The London Merchant was written by George Lillo, who a remarkable and singular literary figure despite his short theatrical career. Born in London in 1691, he was a jeweler by trade, and saw his first produced work (Silvia, or The Country Burial) in 1730, when he was 39.
The London Merchant, first performed in 1731, is widely cited as the first modern tragedy, primarily for Lillo's attention to the "domestic" issues confronting the common man, rather than to the more commonly-portrayed aristocracy. This marked an exceptional departure for Lillo and created a new genre of theatre which concentrated on the struggles of the working classes. Prior to this, the theatre of the period had predominantly focused on stories relating to the upper classes, biblical or classical themes. The new 'bourgeois drama' became popular across Europe, and gave Lillo a notable place in dramatic history. He wrote at least eight plays before his death in 1739.
Lillo's remarkable play has never before been produced in North America. The Storm Theatre is honored to present this play to our audience.
The London Merchant is on a strictly limited engagement, and runs through January 28th. Tickets are available now through SmartTix - don't miss your opportunity to see this groundbreaking play in its North American premiere!