The Mayor of Casterbridge

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Thomas Hardy’s

The Mayor of Casterbridge

A New Adaptation by Philip Goulding


(6 min 20 max)


Salisbury Playhouse/Forest Forge Theatre Co - 5th March – 9th May 1998


Synopsis for The Mayor of Casterbridge

Thomas Hardy's powerful and searching tale of fate, power and the great Victorian myth of "getting on" tells the gripping story of the dynamic and forceful Michael Henchard, a journeyman hay-trusser who through sheer force of will, works his way up, breaking free of a bad marriage and alcoholic despondency to become a prosperous businessman and the Mayor of Casterbridge. Ultimately though, Henchard finds he is unable to escape his past, and driven by his nature, he commits a number of impulsive deeds that will surely bring
disastrous results. Michael Henchard's tragedy has been compared to that of Shakespeare's King Lear, and his story stirs us as Heathcliff, Ahab and Oedipus stir us. Henchard has been compared to a proud pinnacle of rock that has within it a fatal geological fault that guarantees its inevitable final collapse. The story illustrates that the pattern which is innate in character must become that character's history: that character is, indeed, fate, but that fate can be lived through and endured.





"Philip Goulding’s script has quite extraordinary clarity"

(The Guardian)

"A work of quality"

(Salisbury Journal)

"This excellent adaptation"

(Bournemouth Echo)

"Excellent production…fine adaptation"

(Southern Echo)

"Moving and masterly"

(Dorchester Guardian)

"A gripping saga"

(The Independent)

"The broad canvas of Thomas Hardy’s novel

is faithfully reproduced in this fine adaptation"

(Interval Magazine)


Biography of Philip Goulding

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