John Fletcher

Definition

Theater

  • (1579 - 1625) English dramatist, who collaborated withFrancis Beaumont on at least six plays. They began workingtogether in about 1607 and had their first success in 1609 with Philaster;or, Love Lies Bleeding. According to one tale, the two were sharing a bottle in a public house and dividing up their writing assignments for a new play, when Fletcher was overheard to say: "You manage the rest and I'llundertake to kill the king." The two were overheard and immediately arrested; it was some time before they could convince the authorities of theirinnocence.

    After Beaumont's retirement in 1613, Fletcher became chiefplaywright for the King's Men (see Chamberlain's Men); in addition to writing his own plays, he apparently collaborated with Shakespeare on three works, The Two Noble Kinsmen, Henry VIII, and a lost play, The History of Cardenio. He also collaborated with Nathan Field, William Rowley, and Philip Massinger, who succeeded him to the post in 1625.

    His own plays included the pastoral The Faithful Shepherdess(1608), the tragedy Bonduca (1613), and the comedies WitWithout Money (1614), The Wild Goose Chase (1621), andThe Chances (1625), which was revived at the Chichester FestivalTheatre in 1962. His work remained enormously popular until the end ofthe 17th century.

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