This city comedy was kept firmly in the city, though WSP’s staging was set in modern day Boston rather than 17th century London. The players nevertheless seemed perfectly at home against their updated backdrop, continuing to fight, scheme, double-cross, and ultimately reconcile in modern dress just as they would have in the 17th century theater.
Written by John Marston in 1604, The Dutch Courtesan was first performed by the Children of the Queen’s Revels in London’s Blackfriars Theatre in 1605 and published later that same year.
The play opens with the aftermath of a robbery - Cocledemoy has stolen goblets from the Mulligrub household. Freevill, engaged to Beatrice, breaks off his relationship with Francischina, the Dutch Courtesan.
Freevill’s friend, Malheureux, falls in love with Francischina, and she attempts to use him to get revenge on Freevill.
Malheureux tells Freevill of Francischina’s murderous plans, and the two friends fake Freevill’s death. However, Freevill wants to make his friend sweat for even thinking about killing him, and goes into hiding, causing Malheureux to be arrested for murder. Similarly, Cocledemoy engineers Mulligrub’s arrest for robbery, and the final scene opens on two innocent men about to face the gallows.