The Two Noble Kinsmen

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The Two Noble Kinsmen, Berkeley Shakespeare Program, 1978

This eccentric play, a version of Chaucer's Knight's Tale, intersects the story of Theseus in A Midsummer Night's Dream just before his marriage, which is here deferred to allow him to lead an army against Creon to revenge the widowing of three lamenting Queens. He returns victorious with two prisoners who fall in love with Emilia, the sister of his bride, Hippolyta (see a video from the Berkeley Shakespeare Program's production). After many vicissitudes one dies and the other marries a reluctant Emilia. Their jailer's daughter runs mad for love of one of the prisoners but is cured by marriage to a plebeian suitor. The marriages are celebrated by a Morris Dance serving roughly the role of Pyramus and Thisbe in the earlier play (see Staging a Romance: The Two Noble Kinsmen (1978)). This neglected play, co-authored apparently by Shakespeare and his successor John Fletcher, was scarcely performed until the twentieth century, but the charm and pathos of its lovers have earned it several professional productions recently (notables include RSC 1986 and RSC 2000), with some success.

The Two Noble Kinsmen, Royal Shakespeare Company, 1987
The Two Noble Kinsmen, Berkeley Shakespeare Program, 1978
The Two Noble Kinsmen, Berkeley Shakespeare Company, 1978
The Two Noble Kinsmen, Tim Carrol Company, 2000
The Two Noble Kinsmen at UC Berkeley, 1978



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Anonymous. "Two Noble Kinsmen Well Done at Antioch." Dayton Daily News, August 11, 1955.

Anonymous. "Impressive Noble Kinsmen." Review of The Two Noble Kinsmen, York Theater Royal. Stage and Television Today, July 12, 1973.

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Bates, Merete. "Two Noble Kinsmen at York Theatre Royal." Manchester Guardian, July 5, 1973.

Berkowitz, Gerald M. "Shakespeare in Edinburgh." Review of The Two Noble Kinsmen, Cherub Company, August 27-September 8, 1979. Shakespeare Quarterly 31 (1980): 165-6.

Bullock, Ken. "Lively, Playful Excursion Into Obscure Shakespeare." Review of Two Noble Kinsmen, African-American Shakespeare Company, Buriel Clay Theater, San Francisco. Berkeley Daily Planet, October 18, 2005.

D'Avenant, William. The Rivals: A Comedy. Acted by His Highness the Duke of York's Servants. London: William Cademan, 1668. [An alteration by D'Avenant of The Two Noble Kinsmen by Fletcher and Shakespeare]

Fletcher, John & William Shakespeare. The Two Noble Kinsmen, ["Presented at the Blackfriers by the Kings Majesties servants, with great applause"]. London: Tho. Cotes, for John Waterson, 1634. [Reprinted: London: Tudor Facsimile Texts, 1910]

Frey, Charles, ed. Shakespeare & Fletcher: "The Two Noble Kinsmen." Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 1989.

Griffin, Alice. "Current Theatre Notes 1958-1959." Review of The Two Noble Kinsmen, Reading University, June 13-18, 1959. Shakespeare Quarterly 11 (1960): 97-115.

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Richmond, H. M., director. The Two Noble Kinsmen, Shakespeare Program. TV Producer: P. Shepard; directors: L. Lees, G. M. Wallace & M. Winks [videos of two productions, in Moffitt Library], UC Berkeley, 1978.

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Wickham, Glynne. "The Two Noble Kinsmen or A Midsummer Night's Dream, Part II?" Elizabethan Theatre 7 (1980): 167-96.

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