Bill Van Horn and Grace Bauer in The Knight of the Burning Pestle | Photo by Aaron FlackeTheater at Monmouth kicks off Season 44 on Thursday, July 4 at 7:30 p.m. with Francis Beaumont’s The Knight of the Burning Pestle. Monty Python meets Don Quixote in this hilarious comedy by one of Shakespeare’s most popular contemporary playwrights. Imagine Homer and Marge Simpson attending a play only to climb on stage to redirect the show with Bart as the star, and you have some idea of the fun unleashed in Pestle. Loaded with laughter and song, this play is a celebration of the way Elizabethan audiences expected to be part of the action—with superlatively silly results!

When a troupe of Elizabethan actors are interrupted mid-prologue by a few unruly audience members, they find themselves introducing a new storyline into their play to appease the crowd. Cue the foolish knight, a rhyming suitor, an angry ghost, a drunken singer, a squire, a dwarf, a giant, and other outrageous characters in this comedic romp that’s part satire, part romance, and all fun. Shakespeare never attempted anything like this!

General Manager of the Shakespeare Theatre Association and Literary Chair for the National New Play Network, Patrick Flick makes his TAM debut as director on Pestle. A four-time Emmy winning television producer, Flick has worked as a director and actor at theatres across the country including Orlando Shakespeare, Marin Theatre Company, Phoenix Theatre, and Riverside Shakespeare in New York. His approach to Pestle is to give audiences a taste of what is would have been like to see this production as Shakespeare himself might have. The setting is the Blackfriar’s Theatre in London circa 1600’s, with the period costumes and bawdy antics audiences have come to expect from the Elizabethans. Flick hopes Pestle deliver “a rollicking, raucous good time that will leave audiences laughing on their way out the door.”

The Knight of the Burning Pestle Pestle features Bill Van Horn and Grace Bauer as the Citizen and Citizen’s Wife (the unruly audience members who interrupt the play); Mike Anthony as Humphrey (the Foppish suitor); Max Waszak as Rafe (the unwilling apprentice turned Knight of the Burning Pestle); Mark S. Cartier as Master Merrythought (the singing drunken husband); Janis Stevens as Mistress Merrythought (the grand dame of the company); James Noel Hoban as Venturewell (the actor/manager of the company); Alex Harvey as Jasper (the desperate lover); Aislinn Kerchaert as Luce (the fair maiden). Other members of the hapless troupe of players include: Josh Carpenter, Luke Couzens, Hannah Daly, Simon Kiser, Ambien Mitchell, Frank Omar, and Ryan Simpson. Set design by Dan Bilodeau, costume design by Jonna Klaiber, light design by Lynne Chase, and sound design by Rew Tippin.

Performance Calendar: Celebrate Independence PREVIEW 7/4 at 7:30 p.m., All Tickets $10; OPENING 7/5 at 7:30 p.m.; additional performance dates, 7/6, 7/10, 7/20, 8/1, 8/3, 8/13 and 8/16 at 7:30 p.m.; 8/10, 8/11, and 8/14 at 1:00 p.m.; 7/28 at 7:30 p.m. with a post-show talk-back. Ticket prices range from $10-$30. For calendar and reservations, please contact the TAM Box Office at 207.933.9999 or visit

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