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New Mermaids is a series of over sixty modernised and fully annotated classic plays, with an active program of new editions. New Mermaids are edited and updated by experienced teachers who are internationally recognised as authorities in their field. They are ideal for, and accessible to, actors, theatre-goers and students and are printed in a clear, easy-to-use format, with annotations below the text and a comprehensive introduction.
Published in 1575 and acted at Christ's College, Cambridge, probably as early as King Edward VI's reign, the drama of Grandma Gurton and her lost sewing needle, which is finally retrieved from the bottom of her servant Hodge's breeches, is an outstanding example of mid-Tudor comedy.
Although a university production, the play's doggerel rhymes, its village characters and their dialect speech, its seemingly innocuous plot and its Rabelaisian humour are the very opposite of academic or neo-classical. Yet its anonymous author's ingenuity manifests itself at every turn, not least in the multiple ironies evoked when Diccon the trickster makes Hodge believe that he will conjure the devil by kissing his backside in a travesty of religious or masonic oath-taking.
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