The Way of the World

Play

Writers: William Congreve

Overview

Show Information

Category
Play
Number of Acts
5
First Produced
1700
Genres
Comedy, Satire, Romance
Settings
Period, Multiple Settings
Time & Place
London, 1700s
Cast Size
medium
Licensor
None/royalty-free
Ideal for
College/University, Community Theatre, High School, Professional Theatre, Regional Theatre
Casting Notes
Mostly female cast
Includes young adult, adult, late teen characters

Synopsis

One of the most popular Restoration comedy of manners escapades, William Congreve’s The Way of the World follows the story of Edward Mirabell and his love Millamant. To ensure the inheritance of Millamant’s dowry, the two need the consent of her disdainful and difficult aunt, Lady Wishfort. However, Lady Wishfort does not approve of their union and instead wants her own nephew, Sir Wilful, to marry Millamont. Within this conflict are the eavesdropping and fickle Mrs. Marwood - a former lover of Mirabell - who is having an affair with Fainall (the husband of her friend), Foible and Waitwell’s secret wedding, and the mysterious Sir Rowland, a suitor to Mrs. Wishfort. How will Mirabell and Millamant get consent (and the money) for their marriage? Will Fainall’s affairs be revealed? Who is Sir Rowland? The Way of the World is a true satiric examination of the affectations and manners of an upper-class society, with a witty bite that continues centuries later.

Lead Characters