Northern Broadsides and the playwright, poet and novelist Blake Morrison are set to join forces once again, this time to stage the world premiere of For Love or Money, Morrison’s new adaptation of Alain-Rene Lesage’s rarely performed eighteenth-century comedy Turcaret.
Directed by, and featuring Northern Broadsides artistic director, Barrie Rutter, the new adaptation opens at the Viaduct Theatre in Halifax this September before embarking on a nationwide tour.
Set in a small town in Yorkshire, a beautiful widow is being wooed by two suitors.
Fresh from the City and with endless money to dispose of, the older one showers her with gifts – which the younger (handsome, impecunious, an inveterate gambler) wants to put to better use.
But money’s a slippery commodity and all is not quite as it seems. Throw in a bailiff, a drunkard, a vamp, a second-hand clothes dealer and two upwardly mobile servants, and the complications multiply.
This will only be the second time Turcaret has been performed on the British stage. The play received its British premiere at the Gate Theatre in 1988 when it was translated by John Norman.
A great supporter of the work of Northern Broadsides, Blake Morrison has translated and adapted six hugely successful plays which were all commissioned and performed by Northern Broadsides.
Blake Morrison is a poet, novelist and journalist, best known for two family memoirs and a study of the Bulger case.
His publications have included And When Did You Last See Your Father? (which was also made into a film starring Oscar winner Colin Firth), As If, Selected Poems, The Justification of Johann Gutenberg, and Things My Mother Never Told Me.
Blake Morrison said about the forthcoming production: “It’s 21 years now since my first collaboration with Barrie Rutter, The Cracked Pot – an adaptation of a Kleist play in which (as well as directing) he took the leading role.
“By my count there’ve been seven more collaborations since, with adaptations of plays written in German, Italian, Russian and Ancient Greek – plus one, in Geordie, that required only minor adjustments for it to be Yorkshire-fied.
“That’s been the pattern: wherever and whenever the original play is set, I try to render it in a language that’s true to Rutter’s allegiance to northern speech. Instead of RP, it becomes NBI – Northern Broadsides Idiom.”
Lesage’s play was first performed in 1709.
During the reign of Louis XIV, the monarchy delegated the duty of tax-gathering to rich financiers, so-called tax-farmers, who exploited the poor and made themselves huge profits in the process.
The establishment hated the play and it was withdrawn after only seven performances. But its satire on capitalistic ruthlessness hit home.
September 15 – 23, The Viaduct Theatre, Halifax
September 26 – 30, West Yorkshire Playhouse, Leeds
October 11 – 14, Lawrence Batley Theatre, Huddersfield
October 17 – 21, Theatre Royal, Bury St Edmunds
October 31 – November 4, Rose Theatre, Kingston
November 7 – 11, New Vic Theatre, Newcastle -Under-Lyme
November 14 – 18, Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough