The Plays of William Brandage - Part 3

Turnsheet 4

Extracts from the trunsheet response of Master William Brandage. Except for the news.

Write play for Meeash

This was a painful production! You were stabbed in the leg by one of the windmills provided by Meeash, though it's apparently Dame Fiametta's fault the blades of the windmill were quite so much like, well, blades. Maybe some of the irritation transmitted itself into the play because once you've seen it in front of a live audience you see that it portrays Zilmatillia in a terrible light. Only on the surface is it a light-hearted romp, somehow it's developed a subtext: Meeash Han-Tiki Weatherwhite has fled a land of dangerous infidels. Zilmatillia may or may not actually be the first cirlce of Hell but it's not far off!

The first night ends with the audience filled with anger and hate for everything different and foreign. On the positive side the windmills don't seem to be turning the audience into mindless slaves ready to do the bidding of Zilmatillia. Your leg still hurts.

Play - The Showe Must Go On!

Oh God! This is even worse than the Meeash play. It portrays you as simply too stupid to understand the brilliant plans of the misunderstood Hans Franzberg, a noble inventor who takes his orders a little too literally. Somehow it's turned into a tragedy with Hans as the noble hero destroyed by his own flaws. You cancel the whole thing after a few nights of furious rewrites prove the thing can't be salvaged. It does at least show the other London Companies in a good light and even more importantly Choronzon so you don't have too worry about your professional existence, just your reputation.

The audience leave grumbling about the petty iniquities of stupid middle managers who screw up even the best laid plans with their constant interfering till disaster inevitably strikes.


The Ambassador of Zilmatillia - A Play

From a playbill distributed in London.

Some see the Latest Work of the Brilliant William Brandage and the New and Yet Improved Lord Admiral's Men. Marvel at the Sights and Sounds of Distant Zilmatillia, exotic land of Mystery and Strange Customs. Meet the Brave Ambassador with Ventures forth to Learn the Ways of the World Outside her Islands and of her Countless Adventures. An Uplifting tale that will Fill Your Heart with Joy. There will be Windmills. (Safety review pending).

The play portrays Zilmatillia as a hellish place, in fact it may even be one of the outer circles of Hell itself. It fills the audience with fear and xenophobia and there is an upsurge in beatings of foreign sailors and traders across Southwark. At least one person was reportedly injured during rehearsals.

The Archbishop of York Upon the London Stage

From the Critique of Pure Reasonableness, an occasional pamphlet discussing the plays and performances of the plays of the Companies of London Players.

…and we are used to Great Fancies sweeping the stages of London. Last season did we not Suffer under a glut of Patriotic Melodramas damning the cowardly Spaniards and calling the youth of Albion to arms? But it is not quite so unusual to find two plays Praising the same man, for here we detect the hand of the Patron steering his playwrights to a Suitable Subject.

But we do not Complain for now we have the chance to Compare the work of two of the newest and most Noted wielders of the Pen tackling the same subject - the Archbishop of York. Both plays tell the tale of a Great and Good man beset by a Demon.

In Rebecca Lanik's play this Demon is only too real, a foul presence Bestriding the Stage wrapped in Smoke and belching Fire. (The Effects are noteworthy for such a Small Budget.) Eventually it is revealed that it is the Bishop of Catford who has Unleashed this creature on his Fellow in the faith and with his Grisly Demise the Archbishop is released from his Torment.

William Brandage takes a much more indirect line. The Evil Doppelgänger that apes the Archbishop's face is never seen directly, only the ruin he visits upon the Innocent York. This being unleashed by Lucifer himself cannot in the end undo the Archbishop's good work, for though he is a man of some Flaws, he is great with the Word of God and the doppelgänger is forced to Slink back to his Pit never once seen.

And which play is the Superior? Well the Critique has little difficulty in saying that…

Turnsheet 5


The Bishop of Catford

A playbill for the next performance at the Rose Theatre.

The Lord Admiral's Men are proud to present the latest work of William Brandage, playwright extraordinaire! Come laugh at the Bishop of Catford, a grasping scheming usurer and grasping Jew, who has somehow inveigled his way into the bosom of Mother Church. With no friends but his cats to keep him company he seeks always to ingratiate himself with the local gentry. But his false faith, stupidity and clumsiness doom him to ever more ridiculous foolery. He is the secret laughing-stock of Catford until a wandering minstrel makes the mistake of lampooning him in public with the words spoken behind his back…

The play is a great success with audiences often standing to cheer and holler in laughter when the Bishop's hilariously misspoken deal with a demon reduces him to a bloated corpse to be consumed by his cats. There is some trouble after performances however. Some audience members wish to take the play more literally and smash the heads of conspiring money-lending Jews. Unfortunately they were all expelled from the country more than two centuries ago and those that remain or entered in secret have more sense than to reveal themselves in such circumstances.

Those who pay attention to amateur theatre will also note that the Oxford University Light Entertainment Society also put on a play of similar note, with many hilarious puns on pulling purse-strings. The emphasis seems to be on the Perennial nature of amateur theatre, exempt as it is from most forms of direct censorship.


“Apparently William Brandage isn't a puritan zealot determined to cleanse the country of filth. Of course those of us who've seen his plays were always pretty clear on how he felt about filth, if you know what I mean.”

Turnsheet 6


Father Edward - A Play

A playbill for a new performance to be staged at the Rose Theatre

The Great and Well-Known Playwright William Brandage returns from his Honeymoon full of Good Cheer that he bids to spread to the Audience of London in the form of the light-hearted Comedy “Father Edward”. Meet a trio of Catholic Priests, the Fathers Edward, Jack and Donald, who live together on a Remote and Craggy Island off the Coast of the Rain-drenched Isle of Hibernia. Laugh at the Hysterical Japes that Ensue as Father Donald mistakes a Cow for the Archduke Moloch…

The play portrays the three Catholic priests as diabolicists, each worse than the last. Donald is a fool who delights in the thought of unleashing demons upon the English. Jack is a womaniser and sodomite who drinks and swears obsenely. And Edward of the title is an evil schemer who brings destruction and chaos to all around him. Audiences leaving the theatre often form mobs which beat those they identify or merely suspect of being Catholics. The Lord Chamberlain is forced to write a note banning the live sacrifice of animals on stage to protect audience members from the ritual sacrifice of the cow mistakenly identified as a vessel for Moloch and because of concerns it might really be a ritual of some sort.

To My Foreign Princess

From the Critique of Pure Reasonableness, an occasional pamphlet discussing the plays and performances of the plays of the Companies of London Players.

And the Renowned Playwright Master William Brandage reveals another side to his Many Talents. For he has written a most Pretty Sonnet and Dedicated it to his Fair Lady Wife, Rebecca , and to our Blessed Queen Elizabeth. It speaks most Movingly of the Love that Blossoms between Man and Woman and of the Joys of setting out in Life Together as Husband and Wife. This Gem of a sonnet must surely Please the Earl of Southampton who has Sponsored it most Greatly for it, and thus his Name, is upon the Lips of every Loving Couple in London.

Father Edward

A sermon from within the burned ruins of the Catholic Church of St Mary's in the Tabard of Southwark.

… he spreads the most terrible slanderous lies, this William Brandage, calling the sacred priesthood of our Faith devil worshippers in league with Moloch and dabblers in bloody sorcery. His play portrays us as unholy, concerned only to fornicate and sodomise, but I say it this play which is unholy. God shall judge him and find him wanting. He has incited the destruction of His place of worship and he shall pay in the next life if not in this …

Turnsheet 7

Extracts from the trunsheet response of Master William Brandage. Except for the news.

The Play of Tolerance

You and Rebecca review your joint play at all stages and work together to compose a fabulous epic of toleration. There are several interwoven plot threads in the piece. It begins with seemingly two separate plays, about two different theatres and their crews, both incredibly religious - one Catholic, the other Protestant. They both overcome problems of Religious intolerance and eventually it is revealed that in fact they have been working, inadvertently, against each other and have needlessly hurt themselves. They eventually agree upon co-operation and tolerance, together building a theatre and organising a joint play, overcoming the differences and pointless hate.

The underlying themes suggest that there is a need to separate the spiritual from the temporal and that violence destroys the faith of each side.

Throughout the writing, you wife draws your attention to certain strands of the play that keep on emerging. Unwittingly you seem to be including references that when on stage clearly show both sides to be foolish and useless. Pointing this out to you, she helps re-write all the concerned passages to remove what seems to be mischievous demonic influence.

The Adventures of Captain Weatherwhite

Oh dear, why do you hate Zilmatillia so? See the news and your faction brief.


The Adventures of Captain Weatherwhite

From the Critique of Pure Reasonableness, an occasional pamphlet discussing the plays and performances of the plays of the Companies of London Players.

And so with the Great Flooding in the County of Somerset the Lord Admiral's Men Struggle back to London to Stage their next Play, a work of the renowned William Brandage. In this latest Masterpiece we Witness the Adventures of the strange Captain Weatherwhite amongst the Exotic Sights of the Distant East. On the Surface this is Dashing Tale of a Handsome Adventurer rescuing foreign Princesses and fighting Savage Oriental Pirates upon far tropical seas. But 'neath that Surface we find a tale of the Corruption of a man Released by distance from the Limitations of Society. His Nobility around the beautiful Princesses rings Hollow as his Lecherous eye removes their already Scandalous Clothing and Despite his Noble Words the excellent actor Thomas Marcham shows that they will Surrender their bodies Willing or No.

By the Time this Pirate Captain has washed Ashore on the Fabled Shore of a Lost Island the audience know him to be a Monster in the Fairest of Forms. The Play ends With His Introduction to the Emperor of that Land who is Taken in by his Lying Words as he Surveys the Impressionable Ladies of that Court, the Design to Father a race of Bastards filled with his Corrupt Blood clear in his Treacherous Eyes.

The Two Brandages

A playbill distributed in the streets of London.

Witness the Theatre Event of the Age: for the First Time the two Greatest Playwrights of the English Stage, Rebecca Lanik and William Brandage, collaborate on the most Magnificent Work. The Tale of two Rival Companies of Players whose professional Jealousy is further enhanced by the Religious Divide between them. But Love will Conquer All as between Two of the Actors of these Rival Factions a Forbidden Love is born.

See too the Birth of a Marvel of Technique and Innovation, the Play within a Play. Twice the Entertainment for Your Money.

The play is an enormous success, its two halves running at the Rose and another theatre. Its message of religious tolerance seems to deeply affect its audiences too.

bonus.plays_of_william_brandage_3.txt · Last modified: 2008/03/26 23:10 by ivan