“Variety is the soul of pleasure”
from The Rover, 1677
Aphra Behn broke every rule. She was a spy, she was a writer, she was thrown in prison several times for her debts and her politics, she may or may not have been married and she had a live-in lover for nine years.
Her origin a mystery, she may be the daughter of a barber named Amis or Johnson and a wet nurse who became an employee of a family named Culpepper. Aphra probably traveled with the Culpeppers to Surinam (Dutch Guiana), then an English possession. Upon her return to England around the time of the Restoration, she may have married a London merchant named Behn. Her wit and beauty caught the eye of the royal court and she was employed by Charles II in secret service in the Netherlands. Unrewarded, and imprisoned for debt, she began to write to support herself.
From 1670 until her death in 1689, Aphra Behn enjoyed commercial triumph. Her witty, vivacious comedies, such at The Rover (two parts, produced 1677 and 1681) and The Lucky Chance, were highly successful. She was well read, fluent in French and Italian and some Spanish, and she often adapted work by older dramatists. Her versatility, like her output, was immense, and in her day was rivaled only by that of her friend and colleague, John Dryden.
Aphra Behn is considered the first professional English woman writer and originator of the novel in its modern form. This honor is often bestowed on Daniel Defoe, but Aphra Behn’s Oroonoko (based on her stay with an English Colony in Surinam in 1664) predates Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe by some seventeen years. Her most famous play is The Rover (1677) which is still being seen today in productions all over the world. Her gifts as a poet, playwright, and novelist earned her the sobriquet “The Incomparable Astrea.”
Robert Edward Burns (Director) (AEA, SAG, AFTRA) - Robert is a founding member of Fertile Ground, Inc., a not-for-profit artists collective. His recent projects include producing and directing a series of staged readings of new plays and a full production, Niagara Falls and So Do I, a solo performance piece by Gary Schiro at the Judith Anderson Theatre on Theatre Row. Other directing credits include the world premier of Four Baptist Girls by Daniel W. Fisher, Muzeeka by Frank Gagliano; and Children of the Corn, the Musical. Robert holds an MFA in Acting from the University of South Carolina.
Michael Ferraraccio (Music Editor & Composer) - is a native New Yorker currently residing in Louisville, Kentucky. He holds undergraduate degrees in Music from New York University and Cornell University, and a Masters Degree from the University of Louisville. Michael is now a faculty member at the University of Louisville and has received his degree in Law from the University of Louisville.
Anthony W. Eterovich (Art Editor, Photographer & Artist) - holds an Art Diploma from the Cleveland Institute of Art with a major in Drawing, Painting and Figure Composition, and a Master of Science in Art Education from Case Western Reserve University. Mr. Eterovich is a painter and is currently writing two books on drawing.
Chris Fitzgerald (Composer, “The Impossible Invention”) - holds a Bachelors and a Masters degree in composition from the University of Louisville.
Amy Stoller (Dialect Coach) As the sole proprietor of Stoller System Dialect Coaching & Design, Amy has been Resident Dialect Designer/Coach and occasional Dramaturge at the Mint Theater Company since 1997. Her many other clients include Pearl Theatre Company, Keen Company; Theatreworks/USA; Drama League DirectorFest; Boomerang; Peterborough Players (NH); Distilled Spirits Theatre (for whose Northanger Abbey she won an OOBR Award); and on television, Nickelodeon’s Dora the Explorer. For more information, please visit www.stollersystem.com.
Katherine Gay Wilson (Costume Designer) Kathy is a director, designer and actress and holds her MFA from Florida State University. Kudos go to Kathy who designed this dress in 1997 for the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and other than a couple of bows – the dress is thriving!
- Cosmic Leopard Productions Womenkind Festival IV, V & VI, March 1994, 1995 and 1996 at the OneDream Theatre, TriBeCa, New York City
- Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Bedlam Theatre, EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND, August 1997
- The Mae West Festival, Empty Space Theatre, Seattle, WA, July, 2002
- Double Helix One Festival, Phil Bosakowski Theatre, New York City, Oct./Nov. 2002
- Mission Theatre, BATH, ENGLAND, in repertory with Cheer from Chawton, Oct. 2007
- Aphra Behn Society, University of Southern Connecticut, New Haven, CT, November 1997
- International Museum Theatre Alliance in Boston, MA, July 1999, Excerpts
- Association for Theatre in Higher Education in Toronto, Canada, July 1999, Excerpts
- Western Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies, 2002 Annual Conference at Chapman University in Orange, CA, February 2002
- National Women’s History Project Conference, Smith College, September, 2004
- Eastern American Society for Eighteenth Century Studies Annual Conference Seaview Resort & Spa, Galloway, NJ, November 2007
- Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival Region V Conference, Omaha, Nebraska, January 2008
New York City
- Theater Ten Ten, November 1994
- The Mint Theatre, June 1996
- The Merchant’s House Museum, Feb./March 1997
- Episcopal Actor’s Guild, March 1997
- T. Schreiber Studio, August 1997
- Barnard College – for the Girls Scouts Scholars Program – February 2001
- The Tribeca Playhouse – In repertory for three weeks with the Queen’s Co. Production of “The Feigned Courtesans”, April 2002
- St. Francis College – In repertory with Kings County Shakespeare Co. production of “The Rover”, June 2003
University of Montevallo, Montevallo, March 2001
University of Redlands, Redlands, March 2002; Chapman University, Orange, March 2002
University of Denver, Denver, April 2004
University of Southern Connecticut, New Haven, November, 1997
Wesley College, Dover, March 2001
Central Florida Community College, Ocala, February 1999
Georgia College & State University, Milledgeville, April 2003
Albertson College, Caldwell, November 2000
Knox College, Galesburg, November 1998; The Feltre School, Chicago, August 2001
Hanover College, Madison, March 1998
Simpson College, Indianaola, March 1999 & 2005; Luther College, Decorah, March 2000
Centre College, Danville, January 2001
McNeese State University, Lake Charles, September 2000; Louisiana State University at Shreveport, March 2005
United States Naval Academy, Annapolis, March 2002
University of Michigan – Flint, April 1999; Oakland University, Rochester, March 2004
Concordia College, Moorhead, October 1998; University of Minnesota – Duluth, November 2002
St. Louis Community College at Meramec, St. Louis, March 2005
University of Nebraska – Lincoln, March/April 2000; Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival Region V Conference in Omaha, NE, January 2008.
New Hampshire College, Manchester, February 1998 & March 2000
Ramapo College, Mahwah, March 1997; Bergen Community College, March 2004
New York State
Pace University, Pleasantville, November 1996; SUNY Cortland, March 1997; SUNY Institute of Technology, Utica/Rome, March 1997 & March 2002; Wells College, Aurora, March 1998; Keuka College, Keuka Park, March 2001; Orange County Community College, Middletown, October 2001, The Hudson Opera House, Hudson, March 2002
Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, April 1996; UNC-Charlotte, February 2000; Mars Hill College, Mars Hill, March 2000
Dickinson State University, Dickinson, March 2005
Ohio State University-Lima Campus, April 1999; Denison University, Granville, December 1999; Youngstown State University, Youngstown , March 2006
University of Tulsa, Tulsa, March 2001
West Chester University, West Chester, February 2001, September 2004; Slippery Rock University, Slippery Rock, October 2004; Shippensburg University, Shippensburg, March 2005
Columbia College, Columbia, February 2000 & January 2003; University of South Carolina, Columbia, March 2000
Belmont University, Nashville, November 1999; University of Tennessee-Knoxville, February 2000; Lambuth University, Jackson, April 2001
Austen College, Sherman, April 2000
University of Richmond, February 2003
University of Puget Sound, Tacoma, February 2002, March 2005
Alderson-Broadus College, Phillippi, March 1998; Shepherd College, Shepherdstown, March 2000