Foppington's Mask

A serial in four episodes: the story of Colley Cibber, the most important figure in English Theatre in the early part of the eighteenth century, and the outrageous events in the lives of his children, Theo and Charlotte.

The story is told as a series of flashbacks, narrated in voiceover by Colley Cibber as an old man of 87, just before his death in 1757.  He published the first volume of his autobiography (An Apology for the Life of Colley Cibber) in 1740, and was heavily criticised for its self-serving vanity.

In a supposed attempt to set the record straight, he has been persuaded to write a second volume, dealing with his family, and is narrating this second volume of his Apology to an (as yet) undisclosed secretary.

The four episodes deal with the major events in Cibber's life, from the birth of Theo in the great storm of 1703, through Charlotte's unconventional upbringing, Theo's outrageous marriages, Charlotte's estrangement from her father, to Theo's death at sea, and Charlotte's last days in poverty, never reconciled with her father.

The second volume of Cibber's autobiography remains unfinished at his death, and despite the attempt of the 'secretary' (who turns out to be David Garrick) to contact Charlotte with the truth of her father's feelings for her, the volume is put away in Garrick's library, never to be seen again.

© Nigel Holloway 2020