Elegy For a Bed Abandoned
It’s the autumn of 1612, and in a room in Southwark, south London, two young men are trying to write a play. At least, one of them is trying to write a play; he’s not entirely sure what the other’s up to.
The men in question are Francis Beaumont and John Fletcher, rising stars of the Jacobean theatre scene:
the authors of such hits as Philaster and The Maid’s Tragedy, they’re potential heirs to Shakespeare as the great man winds down his commitments to the
King’s Men at the Globe.
Frank and John, till now, have shared everything – not just career and success but also lodgings, a bed, and the favours of their landlady, a young widow called Joan.
Now, though, as John Fletcher relishes the possibility of succeeding Shakespeare, his partner’s mind seems far removed from the task of writing their new play, The Captain. Perhaps unsurprisingly, he’s more concerned with the masque he’s been asked to devise for the wedding of the King’s daughter.
There’s more than this, however, to Frank’s air of distraction, and it soon becomes apparent what: he’s fallen in love, and means imminently to leave showbiz and marry into the aristocracy.
As Beaumont’s plans take shape and the partnership heads for the falls, old tensions surface and threaten to boil over.