Drama Classics: The World’s Great Plays at a Great Little Price
Francis Beaumont’s The Knight of the Burning Pestle is a five-act satire on chivalric romances, generally considered the earliest whole parody (or pastiche) play in English.
The play’s structure is that of a play within a play. The intended performance of The London Merchant – the tale of an apprentice’s efforts to win the hand of his master’s daughter – is interrupted by a request from the audience to stage the story of a heroic grocer who kills a lion with a pestle. Rafe is dragged from the audience to play this hero. Both stories get muddled up and the conventions of theatre get thoroughly mauled.
The play was first performed at Blackfriars Theatre, London, in 1607.
This edition in the Nick Hern Books Drama Classics series is edited and introduced by Colin Counsell.