Based on Aphra Behn’s 1688 novel (which is one of the earliest novels in the English language), Thomas Southerne’s Oroonoko is seen by scholars today as the driving force that kept Behn’s work from fading into obscurity. During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, it was considered even more popular than the novel, presenting theatergoing audiences with a highly touching tale of pathos and tragedy involving the eponymous prince-turned-slave and his undying devotion to his beloved wife, Imoinda. However, in this version, unlike in Behn’s novel, Imoinda is a white woman, and there is also a comic subplot involving the husband-hunting Welldon sisters that caters to Restoration tastes (though in later productions, this subplot was removed altogether). This LibriVox production presents the play as it was first written, and in doing so, brings to the fore a number of interesting themes, such as the importance of individual liberty; the infallibility of true love; and the quick wit and determination of strong, independent women.
I play the Widow Lackitt. Listen to a sample here.
Oroonoko by Thomas Southerne