When one thinks of 17th-century England (to the extent that one would think of 17th-century England), it's unlikely that sexual liberation springs to mind. And yet the Restoration period transgressed traditional moral codes in ways that would have scandalized earlier generations. Such progressive attitudes are well represented in the bawdy explicitness of Restoration comedies, works that were originally performed — for the first time ever — by coed troupes. The era also produced a pioneering female playwright in Aphra Behn, a relentlessly quick-witted personality whose adventuresome exploits included serving as a spy for the Empire. Approaching the work as historical fiction, contemporary playwright Liz Duffy Adams places Behn at the center of a farcical triangle of seduction involving none other than the lustful King Charles II and the period's reigning cover girl, actress Nell Gwynne. Abounding with incognito figures, amorous deceptions, and enough saucy dialogue to ensure blushing, Adams's work avoids any historic staleness, even when adhering to the standards of Restoration comedies. Park Square Theatre's regional debut of the work boasts a cast stacked with highly lauded performers Emily Gunyou Halaas (Behn), Mo Perry (Gwynne), and Matt Guidry (Charles II). Directed by the assured hand of Leah Cooper, Or, wryly suggests that high-office trysts are practically a time-honored tradition.
Thursdays-Saturdays, 7:30 p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m. Starts: Feb. 22. Continues through March 17, 2013