The Prisoner of Zenda
Goodrich Little Theatre
“The Prisoner of Zenda” is based on the 1894 adventure novel by Anthony Hope and adapted
for the stage by Matthew Francis. This is only the second production of Mr. Francis’ adaptation
in the United States. This novel spawned the genre known as Ruritanian romance, where
stories are set in a fictional country. Such stories are typically swashbuckling adventures, tales
of high romance and intrigue, centered on the upper classes and royalty. The themes of honor,
loyalty and love are central to such stories and many times feature the restoration of kings to
This is a classic adventure story of good versus evil. When the Crown Prince of Ruritania is
kidnapped on the eve of his coronation, an English gentleman who resembles the Prince must
impersonate him to save the monarchy. Needless to say, this leads to many complications.
The story is full of villains, last minute escapes, duels, chases, sword fights and ambushes – a
full blown night of theatrical entertainment!