The Lucky Chance

About the Play

First Production

The Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, London 1687

Cast Breakdown
7 women, 14 men
Five acts

The full text of The Lucky Chance is available at:


In this iconic Restoration comedy, arranged marriages are the subject for despair. Two witty young ladies, Leticia and Julia, find themselves arranged to older out-of-touch gentlemen, Sir Feeble Fainwou’d and Sir Cautious Fulbank. Each woman devises plots to end their marriages and do receive their wish after the men admit they were too old to marry. Leticia is successfully reunited with her lover, Belmour. Unfortunately for Julia, Sir Cautious Fulbank must pass on before she can be free of his marriage bed. The play was extremely popular and one of Aphra Behn’s triumphs at putting women center stage.  


This play was one of Aphra Behn’s last comedies before she passed. It is a condemnation of arranged marriage and older senile men forcing themselves on young ladies. The play held the stage for more than a decade and enjoyed a successful revival in 1718, showing how its themes continued to resonate with audiences. At a time when female actresses were allowed to take the stage, Aphra Behn was famous for capturing the woes of Restoration women in unwanted arrangements; a conflict normally ignored by her male counterparts. The play has been produced recently in updated versions. Both the Echo Theatre in Dallas Texas (2013) and Northern Illinois University (2016) produced the play, setting it in 1960s London.


Behn, Aphra. The Lucky Chance. The Works of Aphra Behn. Vol. 3. London: W. Heinemann, 1915. 177-280. University of Toronto. Web. 14 June 2016.

Heimberg, Martha. "Review: The Lucky Chance; Or, An Alderman's Bargain." Cloudbusting Media, 11 Feb. 2013. Web. 14 June 2016.

Netsvold, Ruth. "The Aphra Behn Page." The Aphra Behn Page. Lit-Arts, n.d. Web. 14 June 2016.

Root, Robert L., Jr. "Aphra Behn, Arranged Marriage and Restoration Comedy." DISCovering Authors. Detroit: Gale, 2003. Student Resources in Context. Web. 13 June 2016.

Behn, Aphra. The Luckey Chance, Or, An Alderman's Bargain a Comedy as Is Acted by Their Majesty's Servants. London: Printed by R.H. for W. Canning, 1687. Encyclopaedia. Web. 14 June 2016.

About the Playwright

Aphra Behn
Aphra Behn
Aphra Behn (1640?-1689)             With at least eighteen plays to her name, Aphra Behn was England’s first professional female playwright. Almost all of her works were produced during her lifetime, while two premiered posthumously. She enjoyed the company of other professional playwrights, theatre managers, and actresses, including Thomas Killigrew, Lady Mary Davenant, and Elizabeth Barry.             Her most popular plays were her comedies, a genre in which she demanded recognition and she…
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