Love and Friendship in ‘Love’s Victory’

Penshurst Place and Gardens: Monday 4 June

On the 4th June, ‘Dramatizing Penshurst’ held a day of open rehearsals of scenes from Lady Mary Wroth’s play Love’s Victory (1617), led by Professor Alison Findlay (Lancaster University), director Martin Hodgson and professional actors, Frances Marshall and Rosalind Steele, to bring the play to life in the author’s home, Penshurst Place and Gardens. As a woman dramatist from the age of Shakespeare, Wroth gives a uniquely female perspective on how the bonds of love and friendship between men, between women and between genders intertwine.

Visitors to Penshurst were invited to participate in as many of the open rehearsals, give comments and make suggestions to help us interpret the scenes.

The day began in the Long Gallery inside Penshurst Place with Simon Langton Girls’ School where we explored early modern ideas of ‘girl talk’ and ‘gossip’ by staging the shepherdesses confessing their past and present loves and hopes for the future in an all-female group.

We then moved to the gardens of Penshurst Place, specifically the Heraldic Garden and staged best friends Philisses and Lissius from Act 2 Scene 2 who discuss how the ‘band of friendship’ and ‘long-held love’ between them is threatened by the shepherdess Musella. We then moved to the Magnolia Garden and Italian Garden to explore sisterly love and the self-sacrificing love of Silvesta for her friend, Musella in Act 3 Scene 1.

If your school would like to do this, then please do get in contact!