Running Time: Two hours and 15 min, with two intermissions 

For August, ESP presents a delicious plate of early-twentieth-century ice cream: the delightful romantic comedy Candle-Light... 

MARIE: Of course, one wants to be virtuous.
JOSEF: Why? I mean–
MARIE: Well, it's so difficult. When one is young–
JOSEF: And beautiful.
MARIE: Yes, one is rather, isn't one? You know, domesticity becomes so tedious. Always the same husband.

This confection was adapted from a Viennese play by the comic genius P. G. Wodehouse. In 1929, the starry Broadway cast included Reginald Owen, Leslie Howard, and Gertrude Lawrence. The story starts like this: the valet of a playboy prince falls in love with a voice on the telephone and invites the voice, and the woman to which it belongs, to dine with him in the absent prince's apartments, allowing the woman to believe he is himself the prince. But then the prince returns and, unexpectedly, pretends to be his valet's valet...

PRINCE: Rely on me. I take it the lady attracts you, Josef?
JOSEF: Oh! Your Highness, she makes me feel like one of the great lovers of history.
PRINCE: You never soared to such exalted heights before?
JOSEF: Never, your Highness. Just cooks and ladies' maids, with perhaps a governess at Christmas. 

The original's author was Siegfried Geyer (1882-1944), an actor and playwright whose comedies were only very occasionally adapted for the English-speaking stage. Candle-Light was made into a James Whale-directed movie called By Candlelight in 1933 - this was not based on Wodehouse's version, but an earlier translation. In 1938 a notoriously ill-fated musical made from the material with music and lyrics by Cole Porter, entitled You Never Know, suffered from over-production, bad reviews and cast feuds. The most famous song from the score was "At Long Last Love".  When the show was being written, Cole Porter had a horrifying riding accident, in which his leg was crushed by his horse; he said he composed to keep his mind off the pain while waiting for help to arrive.

But that's saying next to nothing of this scintillating comedy – and like most of the godlike Wodehouse's comic creations, the less spelled out the better. We will say that the play rings a few charming changes on the theme of class roles, and, as might be expected from the creator of the deathless Bertie Wooster and Jeeves, presents opportunities for all kinds of Wodehousian hilarity.

Directed by ESP core member Allen Galli, the cast will include Mark Anders, John Bogar, Jim Gall, Chad Kelderman, Amy Love, Linda K. Morris, and Debra Pralle.

Please join us in ending the summer with the perfect dessert - served up courtesy of Endangered Species Project!

Part of the series: Endangered Species Project

Endangered Species Project is an organization of distinguished Seattle theatre artists dedicated to presenting plays that seldom get full productions. While it is an essential duty of theatres to read and develop new work, there’s a parallel need to bring older neglected plays back to the stage. Through our simply staged readings, we lend live voices to plays that are now silent on our bookshelves.  

Founded in February of 2011, Endangered Species Project has consistently mounted monthly readings. Expanding from our core group of eleven, dozens of Seattle’s best and bravest actors have been instrumental in bringing new life to these plays. We strive to do nothing that gets between the audience and the play. We want to give full scope to those two most powerful forces in the theatre: a playwright’s ideas and the audience’s imagination.

Learn more at www.endangeredspeciesproject.org.