by Liz Duffy Adams
Directed by Adrienne Boris

Chelsea Theatre Works | 189 Winnisimmet Street | Chelsea, MA

Spy or poetess? Lust or love? Wrong or righteous? History or comedy? 

Aphra Behn is in for a wild night. She’s fresh out of debtor’s prison after leaving behind her life of cloak-and-dagger intrigue. A wealthy impresario has given her just a few hours to write the script that could launch her career in the theatre. The hottest actress in London is vying for a part in her play and a place in her bed. And her former lover, the drunken fugitive spy, comes to town mixed up in a plot to kill her current lover, the reigning King of England. She’ll have to be quick with her quill and clever with her kisses, but Aphra Behn just might survive the night, thwart the assassins, get the girl, start a new life, and show the world that a woman’s place is wherever she damn well pleases.

Tickets just $25, available this summer.

For groups of 10 or more, contact

Chelsea Theatre Works


Poet, spy, dramatist, translator, whore, royalist, disgrace and wallower in the moral morass; Aphra Behn is a complicated woman. Her origins were probably humble, but we can only speculate about most of her life before the age of 27 when her work as a spy for King Charles II was officially documented in court records.  It is probable she had spied or carried illicit messages even before that, perhaps introduced into that world by a childhood friend with connections at court.

Her marriage was short-lived (if it ever really happened) and she had no known children, but her writings were prolific. Her plays The Rover and The City Heiress earned her a reputation as a peddler of smut, but she was also immensely popular.  Fiercely loyal to Charles the II and the royal cause her whole life, she rejected progressive ideals that modern Feminists espouse.  But her openness about female sexuality and desire, including homosexual love, and her self-sufficiency as a breadwinner broke the mold of expected female behavior.  “The disgrace of Aphra Behn is that, instead of raising man to woman’s moral standard, [she] sank woman to the level of man’s coarseness”.

Hell yeah, she did.


PlaywrightLiz Duffy Adams

Director … Adrienne Boris


Nell Gwynn / Others … Kaylyn Bancroft
Charles II / William Scott
… Michael Poignand
Aphra Behn
 … Anna Waldron


About Maiden Phoenix
(Learn more)
Stories about Women: Where we are, where we were, and where we are going. Maiden Phoenix is a 501(c)(3) Non-Profit theatre company, committed to giving opportunities to female theater artists, onstage and off, by having at least 51% female involvement in all aspects. We focus on plays that tell women’s stories, past, present, and future, in the hopes of breaking down stereotypes, breaking through barriers, and reaching a more equal world.

About Simple Machine
(Learn more)
Simple Machine makes theatre for artists and audiences. Simple machines are the essential building blocks of every complex mechanical device that moves and changes the world around us. Character, language, and action are the essential elements at the heart of all theatre. By focusing on these fundamentals, Simple Machine makes theatre that is engaging, accessible, and affordable.



JUNE 7 @ 7:30 PM
The Rockwell, Davis Square


Pants Role (noun): A role in which an actress appears in male clothing, doing a better job than a man could, and frickin’ killing it, being the boss, and showing off her legs while shes at it.

For one night only, on June 7 at 7:30 pm, Simple Machine and Maiden Phoenix Theatre Company present an ovaries-to-the-wall Variety Show Fundraiser, featuring Boston’s finest leading ladies. They’ll take the stage at The Rockwell in Davis Square and offer up songs, scenes, and speeches originally written for men, all to support this fall’s production of OR, by Liz Duffy Adams.

The evening’s entertainment will be hosted by Maiden Phoenix’s own Alyce Householter and podcaster and Margaret H. Willison, writer, social media bon vivant, and regular 4th chair on NPR’s Pop Culture Happy Hour. Performers include:
Bethany Aiken
Leigh Barrett
Cheekie Devine
Caitlin Gjerdrum
Anne Gottlieb
Jennifer Greer Dignazio
Christine Hamel Woodberry
Angie Jepson Marks
Maureen Keiller
Lizzie Milanovich
Dahlia Strack
Meredith Stypinski
… and more

Besides the performances, there will be games, raffles, and plenty of drinks. Attendees can bring a donation of feminine hygiene products for chances at additional prizes. All boxed feminine hygiene products will be benefit Distributing Dignity.

We’ll raise a glass (and some funds) for our Fall production of OR, a play by Liz Duffy Adams, about one riotous night in the life of Aphra Behn: poet, spy, and Englands first professional female playwright. Tickets are just $15.

The Rockwell, Davis Square