Basset, anyone?

Folger Theatre Production Diary

Recently, a handful of brave cast members, as well as the director, stage manager, and dialect coach of The Gaming Tableall bellied up to that titular table to learn how to play Basset.

Why Basset, you ask? And why did Susanna Centlivre write a play centered around the game? I was wondering the same thing myself.

Turns out Basset was in its heyday at the beginning of the 18th century when Centlivre was writing our play, and it was quite a controversial pastime.

In fact, in France there was a royal edict against the Common populace playing Basset at more than a 10 penny bank, since loses and gains at this particular game could, and regularly did, ruin entire families. In England, Basset was such a costly and risky game it had a hard time catching on outside of Court circles. After a few years of popularity so many…

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