Article Title

Placing Shaffer's Lettice and Lovage in Perspective


In lieu of an abstract, the first paragraph of the essay follows:

Peter Shaffer caught audiences off guard with Lettice and Lovage, his latest stage work. After twenty consecutive years of writing serious drama, suddenly in 1987 he returned to comedy with a brilliantly witty full-length play. That Shaffer is capable of sparkling comedy comes as no surprise, given the string of popular one-act plays (Black Comedy, White Liars, Public Eye, and Private Ear) staged two decades earlier. But here was a complex three-act comedy, engaging audiences on several planes, something rarely possible with smaller-scale comedies. Equally unexpected was finding two women figures at the center of the plot-unexpected because throughout his career Shaffer has been accused of inability, or unwillingness, to create plausible female characters as protagonists.

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