Shakespeare: Two Noble Kinsmen

Monday, July 19, 7:30pm–9:30pm

The Drilling Company presents “Two Noble Kinsmen,” a rarely-produced curiosity of the Shakespearean canon.

Socially distanced seating for the event is open to the public and available on a first-come, first-served basis on the Upper Terrace.


In "Two Noble Kinsmen," distinguished comrades Palamon and Arcite, cousins and warrior nephews of King Creon of Thebes, are captured by the Athenians after Creon's downfall. The victor, Duke Theseus of Athens, has seen them in battle "like to a pair of lions smear'd with prey, make lanes in troops aghast." In admiration of their valor, he orders the best medical care for them. Though wounded, they thrive in prison, sustained by the power of their friendship, until from their prison window, they see the Amazonian Princess Emilia and both fall passionately in love with her. Their inviolable closeness turns to rivalry. Arcite is first to be released from prison; by his athletic prowess, he wins notice by Emilia and is appointed her attendant. Next, unknown to both knights, the Jailer's Daughter has fallen in love with Palamon and arranges his release from prison. The two knights are reunited but unable to resolve who should have Emilia, so they resort to settle the matter by a duel in armor. Their fight is interrupted when it is accidentally discovered by Theseus' hunting party and the Duke proclaims their impasse to be settled by a public tournament in the lists.

The Jailer's Daughter, insane in her love for Palamon, can only be cured by the advice of a doctor who instructs her old suitor to take the name of Palamon, sing the songs that Palamon sang to her in prison, eat and drink with her and encourage friends to talk to her of Palamon. "It is a falsehood she is in, which is with falsehoods to be combated." The suitor's devotion slowly wins her over.

Before meeting in the tournament, Arcite prays to Mars that he will prevail, Palamon prays to Venus for a sign of her pleasure and Emilia prays to Diana that she be wed to the one who loves her best and has the truest title to her. Each prayer is granted: Arcite wins the contest but is later thrown from his horse and dies. With his last breath, he confers the matchless Emilia upon his friend.

Part of the Shakespeare program.