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A Very Great Mischief, written by emerging playwright Laura Anthony (they/them) and directed by L.A. Mars (she/her), provides a queer spin on the classic comedy of manners. Inspired by Twelfth Night, Cyrano de Bergerac, and the literary styling of Oscar Wilde, the production tells the story of two British families turned upside down by the discovery that homoerotic tendencies are not exclusively male, no matter what the laws of Great Britain might declare.

“The events in the script are inspired by the true story of a resolution to add ‘acts of indecency by females’ to the same buggery laws that were famously used to send Oscar Wilde to prison,” says Mars. “The amendment was ridiculed as ‘a very great mischief,’ hence the name of the piece. The men of the House of Lords truly thought that women of repute had no chance of discovering this on their own––and, more hilariously, that if anyone told them there wouldn’t be a woman left to marry them. So, the legislation was dropped, and same-sex encounters between women were never technically illegal in Great Britain. In developing the piece, Laura and I used the historical context to serve as a backdrop for this story about self-discovery, women’s roles in society, and queerness.”

A Very Great Mischief will debut at the 2022 NZ Fringe Festival as a filmed production. The production stars Laura Anthony, Jessi Baden-Campbell, Mari Blake, Andrea Rose Cardoni, Sky Nelson, Cameron Pillitteri, and Mark Simmons. The show is written by Laura Anthony, directed by L.A. Mars, and stage managed by Lisa Geerhart.

Showtimes are 1:00 PM and 8:00 PM NZST every Saturday and Sunday from February 19th through March 6th, and will be available for streaming worldwide.

The show has an approximate run time of 120 minutes. Please be advised, this play contains scenes of explicit language and sexual situations.

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