Age of Arousal
By: Linda Griffiths
Directed by: Muriel Romanes
Co-produced by: Stellar Quines and Royal Lyceum Theatre
1885 – a time of great passion, great confusion. Virtue is barely holding down its petticoats. Women are bursting their corsets with unbridled desire.
Determined to make women rich, ex-militant suffragette Mary Barfoot and her devoted protégé and lover Rhoda enlist female students to master the new invention that will gain them freedom – the typewriter. Three spinster sisters are invited into the school to rescue them from poverty, setting in motion an odyssey of alcoholism, cross-dressing and sexual revolution.
Enter Everard Barfoot, Mary’s cousin, an ex-doctor in his 30s about to embark on a life of leisure, and suddenly all the characters in this lavish sexy ensemble piece are erupting with discoveries, contradictions and epiphanies. Genre-busting, rule-bending and ambitiously original.
Age of Arousal is a powerful ensemble piece about the forbidden and gloriously liberated self, wildly inspired by The Odd Women, a Victorian novel by George Gissing. “[It is less] a historical play, more a fantasia – where everyone is on the brink of tumultuous change, sexual and lubricious, explosive and contradictory” (Linda Griffiths).