SYNOPSIS (Back to Cardenio program)

London, 1613. William Shakespeare has been commissioned to write one last play before his retirement and enlists his fellow playwright and protégé John Fletcher to help him write it: an adaptation of an episode from Cervantes’ novel “Don Quixote” called Cardenio.

Cardenio follows the exploits of Julio, a young nobleman from a town in Andalusia, Spain. Julio is in love with Leonora, but is reluctant to ask for her hand from her father Don Bernardo, whose preferred match for his daughter is Henriquez, youngest son to the Duke Angelo. Meanwhile, Henriquez pursues another young townswoman, Violante, and when she rebuffs his advances, he assaults and abandons her, forcing her to flee into the wilderness. Henriquez lures Julio to court and away from Leonora, successfully appeals to her father for her hand and sets a wedding date. Leonora is able to bring Julio back from court to help her, but before he can stop the wedding, he is run out of town by Henriquez’ servant Geraldo and Leonora flees the city to hide in a convent, leaving Don Bernardo and Julio’s father Camillo to grieve their losses.

In the wilderness, Violante has disguised herself as a shepherd boy under the watch of the Master of the Flocks, who ultimately sees through her disguise and attempts to assault her as well. He is stopped by Roderick, Henriquez’ elder brother, who is seeking out Julio and Leonora on Don Bernardo and Camillo’s behalf. Violante hides, and Roderick joins Henriquez and Geraldo in stealing Leonora from the convent so that she may wed Henriquez. Julio and Violante encounter each other, and concoct a plan to rescue Leonora and expose Henriquez’ crimes against them to his father the Duke. They are ultimately successful and Julio and Leonora are finally allowed to wed.