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The Two Gentlemen of Verona

Plot Summary

Valentine sets off from Verona for Milan to see the world. Proteus stays at home because of his love for Julia. She is in love with him, but neither knows of the other's love until Lucetta shows Julia a love letter from Proteus. He is reading her reply when his father, Antonio, informs him of his decision to send him to the duke's court to join Valentine. The lovers take their leave and swear eternal constancy. In Milan, Proteus finds that Valentine has fallen in love with Silvia, the duke's daughter, and plans to elope with her to foil her father's plan to marry her to Turio. Valentine confides his plan to his friend but Proteus, infatuated with Silvia at first sight, betrays the plan to the duke and Valentine is banished from Milan. In the wilderness he encounters a band of outlaws and is elected their leader.

Meanwhile Julia, disguised as Sebastian, has come to Milan in search of Proteus. Overhearing him declare his passion for Silvia, she is devastated but, under cover of her disguise, enters his service as a page. When Proteus sends her with a message to Silvia, Julia is encouraged to find that his advances are again rejected and that Silvia remains faithful to Valentine. Silvia escapes into the forest to join Valentine. The duke and Turio set out in pursuit, followed by Proteus and Julia. Silvia is captured by the outlaws but then rescued by Proteus who, seeing that she still spurns him, tries to force himself on her. Valentine intervenes and Proteus is forced to confront his act of betrayal. Julia reveals her identity and reconciliation begins.

RSC Staging History 1960-2007

1960 RST: Peter Hall
Renzo Mongiardino (sets), Lila de Nobili (costumes); Michael Northen (lighting); Raymond Leppard (music)

Denholm Elliott (Valentine), Derek Godfrey (Proteus), Frances Cuka (Julia), Susan Maryott (Sylvia), Jack MacGowran (Speed), Patrick Wymark (Launce), Ian Richardson (Thurio), Mavis Edwards (Lucetta), Eric Porter (Duke of Milan), Clifford Rose (Sir Eglamour), Tony Church (Outlaw), Diana Rigg (Lady), William Wallis (Outlaw), Michele Dotrice (Lady)

1969 Theatregoround: Gareth Morgan
Tazeena Firth (design)

David Bailie (Valentine), Richard Pasco (Proteus), Susan Fleetwood (Julia), Susan Sheers (Sylvia), Alton Kumalo (Speed), Geoffrey Hutchings (Launce), Anthony Pedley (Thurio), Janet Henfrey (Lucetta), Derek Smith (Duke of Milan), Sydney Bromley (Sir Eglamour)

1970 RST/1970 Aldwych: Robin Phillips
Daphne Dare (design); John Bradley (lighting)

Peter Egan (Valentine), Ian Richardson (Proteus), Helen Mirren (Julia), Estelle Kohler (Sylvia), Philip Manikum (Speed), Patrick Stewart (Launce), Terence Taplin (Thurio), Sheila Burrell (Lucetta), Clement McCallin (Duke of Milan), Sebastian Shaw (Sir Eglamour)

1981 RST: John Barton with Peter Stevenson
(double-bill with Titus Andronicus)
Christopher Morley (design); Brian Harris (lighting); Nick Bicat (music)

Peter Chelsom (Valentine), Peter Land (Proteus), Julia Swift (Julia), Diana Hardcastle (Sylvia), Joseph Marcell (Speed), Geoffrey Hutchings (Launce), Paul Shelley (Thurio), Diana Berriman (Lucetta), Patrick Stewart (Sir Eglamour), Bernard Lloyd (Antonio), Leonie Mellinger (Ursula), Hugh Quarshie (Outlaw), Roger Allam (Outlaw), Philip Franks (Outlaw), Sheila Hancock (Outlaw), Nigel Le Vaillant (Outlaw)

1991 Swan/1992 Barbican/1993 Barbican and Tour: David Thacker
Shelagh Keegan (design); Jimmy Simmons (lighting); Guy Woolfenden (music)

Richard Bonneville/Dominic Arnold (Valentine), Barry Lynch/Ben Miles (Proteus), Clare Holman/Alison Reid (Julia), Saskia Reeves/Josette Bushell-Mingo/Sarah-Jane Holm (Sylvia), Sean Murray/Ian Driver (Speed), Richard Moore (Launce), Guy Henry/Hugh Lee (Thurio), Josette Bushell-Mingo/Lucy Tregear (Lucetta), Henry Webster/Charles Armstrong (Panthino), Terence Wilton/Gregory Floy (Duke of Milan), Peter Bygott/Simon Markey (Sir Eglamour), Lucy Tregear/Biddy Wells (Ursula), Howard Crossley/Reg Stewart (Host), Hilary Cromie/Bronwyn Baud (Singer)

1998 Swan/1998-99 Pit: Edward Hall
Michael Pavelka (design); Ben Ormerod (lighting); Mark Thomas (music)

Tom Goodman-Hill (Valentine), Dominic Rowan (Proteus), Lesley Vickerage (Julia), Poppy Miller (Sylvia), John Dougall (Speed), Mark Hadfield (Launce), James Tucker (Thurio), Robin Weaver (Lucetta), Alan Stocks (Panthino), Colin McCormack (Duke of Milan), Andrew Maud (Sir Eglamour)

2004-05 Swan/Small-scale Tour: Fiona Buffini
Liz Ashcroft (design); Neil Austin (lighting); Conor Linehan (music)

Alex Avery (Valentine), Laurence Mitchell (Proteus), Vanessa Ackerman (Julia), Rachel Pickup (Sylvia), Andrew Melville (Launce), Zubin Varla (Thurio), Adrian Schiller (Panthino), Christopher Saul (Duke of Milan), Gary Oliver (Sir Eglamour), Patrick Romer (Antonio), Richard Copestake (Silvia's Bodyguard), Emma Powell (Lady)