The Libertine tells the story of the Earl of Rochester, friend and confidant of Charles II and the most notorious rake of his age. He was an anti-monarchist Royalist, an atheist who converted to Christianity and a lyric poet who revelled in pornography. The play centres on the moment his cynicism is confounded when he falls in love in earnest.
Thoroughly modern in its attitude to Rochester's sexual indulgence, the play is also a thrillingly convincing portrait of the period and an accomplished comedy of manners.
Commissioned and direct by Max Stafford-Clark for Out of Joint, The Libertine was first performed on tour and at the Royal Court Theatre alongside the Restoration comedy, The Man of Mode, which offers another, contemporary view of Rochester.
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