AT: The Banished Cavaliers A: Aphra Behn Pf: 1677, London Pb: 1677 G: Com. in 5 acts; prose and some verse S: Naples, 1650s C: 12m, 7f, extrasIt is carnival time in Naples. Two Spanish sisters, Hellena and Florinda, plan to have fun in disguise, Hellena because she is obliged to become a nun, Florinda because she is threatened with marriage to a rich old gentleman. They soon begin flirting, Hellena with Willmore the Rover, Florinda with Belvile, an English colonel. Florinda's brother Don Pedro hopes that she will marry his friend Don Antonio, but Antonio is too taken up with the attractions of a famous courtesan Angellica. However, Angellica is won over by the charms of the Rover Willmore. When Willmore goes to visit Angellica, he fights with Antonio and wounds him. Belvile intervenes to part them, Willmore leaves, and Belvile is arrested for attacking Antonio. Antonio asks Belvile to take his place in a duel against Don Pedro, who is outraged by Antonio's love of Angellica. Belvile, begged by Florinda not to harm her brother, abandons the duel and so confirms his love for her. Despite further misunderstandings, helped by a multiplicity of disguises, Belvile marries Florinda, and Willmore, though threatened with a pistol by Angellica, weds Hellena.
AT: The Banished Cavaliers A: Aphra Behn Pf: 1677, London Pb: 1677 G: Com. in 5 acts; prose and some verse S: Naples, 1650s C: 12m, 7f, extras
Based on Thomas Killigrew's Thomaso (published 1664), The Rover has an untidy plot and depends for much of the action on conventional devices like disguise and characters unintentionally causing misunderstandings. But its great strength does not lie alone in the fact that Aphra Behn was the first woman to be a professional playwright, but also in the sheer exuberance of the action reflecting the high spirits of the Restoration. With honest bawdy in the depiction of the exploitative nature of men in their sexual relationships, in contrast with Hellena's vigorous dignity, The Rover offers incident-packed entertainment. It was successfully revived at the RSC in 1986. Part 2 (1681) shows another courtesan winning the widower Willmore.