What Audiences Should Know
The Explorers Club
Running Time: 1 hr 45 min to 2 hrs
Age Recommendation: 14+
All of the violence, both onstage and descriptions of offstage events, although prevalent are also slapstick and satiric. There are comic references to “native” violence, deaths, and hunting animals during expeditions. Luigi’s traditional greeting, a slap across the face, becomes both a running slapstick joke and a plot device. Sir Humphries’ threats to invade and destroy the NaKong village are a pivotal plot point. The second act takes place entirely during the siege of the Explorers Club and there is periodic offstage rioting between Her Majesty’s Guards, the Irish mob, and a group of Warrior Monks of Jho Dae. There is a long slapstick comic fight sequence starting with an Irish assassin stabbing Cope, then Cope’s snake bites Walling, and then Luigi sucks out the snake bite blood and cures Cope’s stab wound. The Irish assassin is comically killed onstage and his dead body used as a plot device.
There are a couple of comedic, passionate onstage kisses, but most of the romantic moments are comically presented and consist mostly of longing looks and romantic tension.
There is very mild language with only one instance of a strong obscenity – see the list below for details. The dialogue is a slight modernization of the conversational style and language used during the British Victorian era.
G*d: spoken 7 times
Sh*thole: spoken once
W*nker: spoken once
Bl**dy: spoken once
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Characters drink throughout the play, mostly hard liquor and cocktails. The entire story takes place in the bar room of the Explorers Club, a Victorian members-only private club. Characters talk about drinking as a normal, even admirable activity as part of the satirical style of the writing and the state of the bartender is central to the plot. Cope spends most of the second act comically drunk. Also, as traditional for private clubs of this time period, characters smoke cigars. In the second act, their regular cigars are switched out for cigars rolled from the Phyllida plant (discovered by Lucius) which acts as a drug, producing euphoria and then itchiness.
Families Can Talk About…
The Explorers Club provides a good opportunity to speak with young people about the satirical style of the play and how it uses humor to draw attention to important social topics like gender equity and the impact of British imperialism.