facebook.com/petercowlam | twitter.com/petercowlam | petercowlam books | petercowlam poems | petercowlam plays | petercowlam.one

Index of titles


New King Palmers

The Two Gentlewomen of Dover

Who’s Afraid of the Booker Prize?




New King Palmers

New King Palmers is the play central to the author’s novel of the same name. The novel won the 2018 Quagga Prize for Literary Fiction. The action of the play is located in and around the King’s court, which has moved to its country retreat for the hunting season. Although all characters and events are approximated to an England in the early decades of the twenty-first century, the court is shown as something more akin to that of the Tudor era. Accepting that this makes the King and his court a fantasy of sorts, there is nevertheless symbolic meaning in it. King Chads’s is a life circumscribed by precedent and tradition, and the Tudor backdrop he is etched against is a concrete representation of the ancient system of power contemporary England is rooted in. In varying degrees all the courtly characters, and some of the other characters too, reflect these two worlds – the modern, contemporary one, and the ancient world of pageant. The two forces acting on the court are, on the one hand, a groundswell of opinion towards republicanism, and on the other suspicion at the aims and dictates of the European Union. These tensions are dramatized throughout.

Entering into the court is a ragbag of entertainers, including Palmers, a commercial adventurer who in the play’s opening scenes is acting as artistic agent for singer/songwriter Simon Star, though has other entrepreneurial interests too. Palmers is exploiting Star mercilessly, something that Star has only vague inklings of, but is understood completely by Madame Zemlinsky, a fortune-teller and Tarot aficionado, who in following these other two to court is intending to outwit both of them and make off with their cash.

All of them become embroiled in court politics, which revolves round the republican and EU questions, further complicated by the King’s Musician, an accomplished classicist, who must now act out his rivalry with these newcomers to court, particularly Simon Star. These tensions too reach their dramatic conclusion.

New King Palmers is a comedy, a satire on our current state of politics, art and culture.

For applications for rights, including performing rights, contact CentreHouse Press, inquiries@centrehousepress.com.