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[personal profile] chickenfeet
 I saw a performance of Dame Ethel Smyth's The Boatswain's Mate a couple of nights ago,  (Review).  I've been thinking about whether moving the setting from the early C20 to the 1980s(*) didn't rather undermine the unusualness of the strong and independent nature of Mrs. Waters, the pub owner and (ironically) the title character.  Then it occurred to me that inn keeper (with or without extra services) is the default role for the strong and independent woman in English drama down the ages.  Mistress Quickly and "Auntie" in Peter Grimes are probably but two examples.  Worth noting perhaps that the prim and feminist Dame Ethel does not even hint that Mrs. Waters' offerings extend beyond drinks.

(*)Don't get me going on productions set in the 60s/70s/80s by directors who are too young to remember them.  I am still laughing about an Albert Herring set in 1960s rural Suffolk that had white table cloths at the pub and a range of whole salamis at the grocer.
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