Godspeed or What Men Want
by N.C. Venderbosch
Godspeed or What Men Want is a modern retelling of one of the most popular tales of the Middle Ages. In the medieval tale, of which various versions survive, a young knight must travel King Arthur's realm to find the answer to that elusive question of what women most desire. At the end of his quest, the knight stumbles upon a loathly lady who will tell him the answer ("sovereignty") in return for a favour. The knight agrees and is horrified when the hag tells him the favour she wants is to marry him. When, on their wedding night, the knight grants the old hag sovereignty over her appearance, she transforms into a beautiful young woman and thus the couple is given a happy ending.
In Godspeed or What Men Want the gender dynamic of the medieval tale is turned on its head. Camelot is no longer ruled by King Arthur but by Queen Guinevere. It is no longer a young knight who must learn an important lesson, but a young lady who wishes to acquire a position in Guinevere's government. It is a play both medieval and modern. It is inspired both by our current thinking about storytelling, character development, and female empowerment and by medieval ideas of gender relations, plot building, and the power of magic.
Nienke Venderbosch taught Medieval English Literature at Leiden University for two years after getting her PhD in English Literature from Yale in 2014. Not wishing to further pursue a career in academia she is currently relocating to Amsterdam, hoping to find gainful employment there. She has mainly written short stories in the past; this is her first play.
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