UCL Centre for Early Modern Exchanges presents a performance of ‘The Tragedy of Thomas Merry’ from Robert Yarrington’s Two Lamentable Tragedies (1601).
The performance will take place on Friday 21st March at 7pm, in the Jeremy Bentham Room, UCL. It will be staged by professional actors and UCL students, using Elizabethan rehearsal practices, and will be accompanied by an onstage lutenist.
‘The Tragedy of Thomas Merry’ is a gory Elizabethan domestic tragedy based on a ‘true crime’: the 1594 murder of London shopkeeper Master Beech by his neighbour, Master Merry.
The play is significant in its focus upon the material processes of crime and detection. It pays particularly graphic attention to the disposal of the body, the forced complicity of subordinate members of the murderer’s household, and the importance of forensic evidence, neighbourhood surveillance, and providential interference in the detection of the crime.
In dramatising the effects of the crime upon both the murderer’s household and the surrounding neighbourhood, ‘The Tragedy of Thomas Merry’ stages the tensions between the self-interest of an individual home and the peace and concord of the wider community in a crowded and ever-growing city.
The performance will be preceded by a talk by Professor Tiffany Stern (University of Oxford), and will be introduced by the director, Emma Whipday (UCL), and the producer, Dr Freyja Cox Jensen (University of Exeter).
For more information, and to see photos and footage from rehearsals, take a look at our blog:twolamentabletragedies.wordpress.com