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Beaux Stratagem

Beaux Stratagem: George Farquhar's early 18th century Restoration English comedy follows the ruses of two young gentlemen, Tom Aimwell and Jack Archer, who have lost their fortunes and decide to travel the countryside in search of young heiresses they can steal from. In Litchfield, Archer poses as Aimwell's servant in order to gain the confidence of wealthy Lady Bountiful and her eligible daughter Dorinda. Aimwell falls truly in love and the two men find they must maneuver themselves out of a host of complications in order to unite the young lovers. Dorinda's sister-in-law Kate Sullen, trapped in a loveless marriage to the slovenly Squire Sullen, strikes up a tempting friendship with Archer, who is also juggling the affections of the saucy innkeeper's daughter Cherry. Aimwell and Archer's sole funds are in storage with landlord Will Boniface, who suspects that they are thieves and plots with the highwaymen Gibbet, Hounslow and Bagshot to rob Lady Bountiful. Meanwhile, the local Count Bellair bribes Mrs. Sullen's servants to let him into her bedchamber. When Mrs. Sullen's brother Freeman arrives on the scene, Aimwell and Archer's already weakened deceptions quickly unravels. Farquhar's play has subsequently been adapted by Thornton Wilder and Ken Ludwig and produced by The Shakespeare Theatre Company to great acclaim.

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