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Drama Classics: The World's Great Plays at a Great Little Price One of the best known eighteenth century comedies of manners, Sheridan's first play, and still his most popular. Lydia Languish, a young woman from a good family, holds to an impossible romantic ideal of love, and resolves only to marry a pauper. So Jack Absolute pretends to be a poor soldier in order to win her hand. Meanwhile, Jack's father is attempting to procure the match through the proper channel of Lydia's guardian, and Jack becomes a rival to himself, before he is finally challenged to duels by rival suitors in both his identities... Richard Brinsley Sheridan's play The Rivals was first performed at Covent Garden Theatre, London, in 1775. This edition of the play, in the Nick Hern Books Drama Classics series, is edited and introduced by Colin Counsell.