A SAMUEL FRENCH, LTD. TITLE

Private Lives

Full Length Play, Comedy  /  3f, 2m

Private Lives
by Noël Coward

"Gorgeous, dazzling, fantastically funny." - The New York Times

  • Cast Size
    Cast Size
    3f, 2m
  • Duration
    Duration
    120 minutes (2 hours)
  • SubGenre
    Subgenre
    Period
  • Audience
    Target Audience
    Adult, Senior, Pre-Teen (Age 11 - 13), Teen (Age 14 - 18)
Licence details
  • Minimum Fee: £85 per performance plus VAT when applicable.

    Please submit a license request to determine availability.

Details

Summary
Revived in 2002 by the Royal National Theatre in a production that sparkled on Broadway, Private Lives is one of the most sophisticated, entertaining plays ever written. Elyot and Amanda, once married and now honeymooning with new spouses at the same hotel, meet by chance, reignite the old spark and impulsively elope. After days of being reunited, they again find their fiery romance alternating between passions of love and anger. Their aggrieved spouses appear and a roundelay of affiliations ensues as the women first stick together, then apart, and new partnerships are formed. A uniquely humorous play boasting numerous successful Broadway runs with stars like Coward himself, Laurence Olivier, Tallulah Bankhead, Gertrude Lawrence, Tammy Grimes, Richard Burton, and Elizabeth Taylor.
Cast Attributes
M2 (30 ) F3 (young, 30)

ELYOT CHASE- A handsome, thirtyish man. 
AMANDA PRYNNE- Elyot’s first wife, newly married to Victor Prynne. She is the most vivacious character in the work. She is not only beautiful but also spirited, independent, and unconventional—a fit partner for Elyot.
SIBYL CHASE- Elyot’s blonde, attractive, twenty-three-year-old bride. Conventional, unimaginative, and innocent, she is Amanda’s antithesis and suggests the playwright’s dim view of the “nice” English girl. 
VICTOR PRYNNE- A handsome man a few years older than Elyot. Stuffy and stodgy, he lacks a sense of humor. 
LOUISE- Amanda’s French-speaking maid. Her inability to speak English and her incomprehension of the bizarre occurrences in the apartment provide a number of laughs.
  • Time Period 1930s
  • Setting A balcony, a living-room
  • Duration 120 minutes (2 hours)

Media

"Gorgeous, dazzling, fantastically funny." - The New York Times
"A gleaming and gleeful comedy." - The New York Post

"A brilliant comedy. A very funny play." - Newsweek

ON BREAKING CHARACTER

Positively Noël: Six Great Noël Coward Plays to Perform

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  • Private Lives

    Credit: © Justin “Squigs” Robertson

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Authors

Noël Coward

Noël Peirce Coward was born in 1899 and made his professional stage debut as Prince Mussel in The Goldfish at the age of 12, leading to many child actor appearances over the next few years. His breakthrough in playwriting was the controversial The Vortex (1924), which feature ...

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