The Austin College Theatre Department will present The Emperor of the Moon, written by Aphra Behn, at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday through Friday, April 26-28, in Beardsley Arena Theatre of Ida Green Communication Center. Tickets, available at the box office just prior to each performance, are $8 or free with a valid Austin College ID.
The play’s director, Dr. Kirk Andrew Everist, associate professor of theatre, said the play’s author, Aphra Behn, was the first woman in England to make a living writing plays. The Emperor of the Moon was her final play, written in 1687. Everist said the play combines her signature Restoration-era wit and literary flash with the brash, physical humor of the Italian comedy: Commedia dell’Arte. The Austin College production, he said, “embraces those roots, drawing on masks and stock characters to create an evening packed to bursting with strangeness and laughter.”
Everist said the main plot of the play revolves around two young lovers, Bellemante and Elaria, who are kept from marrying their beloveds, Don Charmante and Don Cinthio, by Elaria’s father, the esteemed Doctor Baliardo. “As an astrologer and astronomer, the Doctor subscribes to the current fantasy that life might exist on the Moon,” the director said. “Hoping to raise their fortunes by marriage to Lunar royalty—the stars themselves— he forbids them to marry the ones they love.”
As the play continues, Everist explained, the lovers enlist the aid of the enterprising Scaramouch and his companion, Harlequin. With their confidante, Mopsophil, they hatch a plan to convince the Doctor that there is an Emperor of the Moon and that he wishes to marry his daughter.
“What could possibly go wrong?” Everist said. “Even the audience might find themselves involved.”
Austin College, a private national liberal arts college located north of Dallas in Sherman, Texas, has earned a reputation for excellence in academic preparation, international study, pre-professional foundations, leadership development, committed faculty, and hands-on, adventurous learning opportunities. One of 40 schools profiled in Loren Pope’s influential book Colleges That Change Lives, Austin College boasts a welcoming community that embraces diversity and individuality, with more than 40 percent of students representing ethnic minorities. A residential student body of 1,250 students and a faculty of more than 100 allow a 13:1 student-faculty ratio and personalized attention. The College is related by covenant to the Presbyterian Church (USA) and cultivates and inclusive atmosphere that supports students’ faith journeys regardless of religious tradition. Founded in 1849, the College is the oldest institution of higher education in Texas operating under original name and charter.