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LEATHER HARNESS WORN BY MILES ANDERSON
The Witch of Edmundson, 1981
Playwright: William Rowley, Thomas Dekker and John FordDirector: Barry KyleCostume Designer: Chris Dyer
The Witch of Edmonton was written in 1621. It was based on a real witchcraft trial. A lady called Elizabeth Sawyer was hanged for witchcraft at Tyburn after making a full confession. The writers took details from the real trial, and Sawyer's confession, to write the play.
In the play Elizabeth Sawyer is shunned by her neighbours. She takes revenge by selling her soul to the Devil who then appears in the form of a black dog. Miles Anderson, who played the Devil in his disguise, wore this black leather harness over black body paint. He also wore a wig of wiry black hair.
Critics commented on the sinister feel of the play. One wrote that it 'reeks of evil' and that the Devil (Anderson) was a 'constant menace'. The play also has two minor plots in which the Devil influences a bigamist to murder is second wife but also befriends a man who is 'free from wrong thoughts'.
© 2011 Royal Shakespeare Company