I've long been fascinated by the King's Staircase murals at Kensington Palace, which depict the many courtiers of George I's entourage. They're a dynamic and varied lot, including doctors, painters and entertainers. One of them has drawn particular interest: Peter, the so called 'Wild Boy,' a feral child found in the forests of Germany and brought back to England to be kept as a pet. I wanted to write a play about him and chose to tell it from the perspective of another intriguing figure, Georg Ludwig Maximilian von Königstreu - better known to us as Mehmet, a Turkish valet of unusual station and importance.
The fascination and prejudice that both Peter and Mehmet would have encountered in 18th century England struck me as a potential window to tell an entertaining and sensitive story about them both, in which Mehmet finds himself embroiled in the attempts to make Peter sit still for long enough to be painted. The play has been masterfully performed by Atilla Akinci and directed by Alex Newall, and I hope we've done justice to the historical persons involved!
You can download Mehmet and the Wild Boy from your usual podcast apps, or listen to it here. Further info about the history of this play can be found direct from Historic Royal Palaces, and do check out the rest of the series! It's a fine selection of plays with plenty more on the way.