Shakespeare's Globe Lectures & Read Not Dead

Shakespeare's Globe Lectures & Read Not Dead

2004 marks the 300th anniversary of the birth of the extraordinary Robert Dodsley. This footman turned poet and playwright became one of the most influential literary publishers in the 18th century. His Selected Collection of Old Plays (1744) sought to 'snatch some of the best pieces of our old Dramatic Writers from toal Neglect and Oblivion.' Sixty one plays 'from the earliest Account of the English Stage to the Death of Charles the First' appeared in twelve volumes.

Globe Education's Read Not Dead series of staged readings also seeks to rescue plays from oblivion. 'Performances with scripts' of over 100 plays by Shakespeare's contempories have been presented by professional casts in the Globe Education Centre Theatre.

Rowley's play presents a bleak image of a world filled with Christian lust and Moorish barbarity, and ends in a gruesome orgy of cruelty and death.

When Julianus discovers that his daughter, Jacinta, has been raped by King Rodericke, he sides with Spain's enemy, the Moor Mulymumen, to wreak revenge. Mulymumen becomes King. When Jacinta repels Mulymumen's advances, both father and daughter are punished in a trick that is one of the most shocking in the Jacobean repertoire

A subplot can offer bigamy and strangulation and the first orange-seller to appear on the English stage.

Marlowe's two plays based on the life of the 14th century conqueror Timur the Lame, were among the most successful on the Elizabethan stage. They are rarely performed in full today - producers and directors preferring to conflate the two plays in one.

Part One charts Tamburlaine's ruthless rise from Scythian shepherd to 'most puissant and mightye monarque'. He conquers nearly every city and country on his maps of North Africa and the Middle East: Persia, Turkey, Fez, Argiers, Morocco, Damascus and Arabia. The number and nature of the deaths described or depicted on stage will startle the ear and eye. Only his love for the fair and divine Zenocrate rivals his lust for power.

His final victory in this part is the defeat of Zenocrate's father, the Soldan of Egypt. For once Tamburlaine is 'compassionate' and restores the Soldan's lands. He does so standing over the dead bodies of the King of Arabia, Bajazeth, Emperor of Turkey, and Bajazeth's wife, and declares 'a truce with all the world'. But only until Part Two

Treacherous, vow-breaking Christians are defeated by Turkish forces. The Turks unite under Callapine, son of Bajazeth, and Callapine then sets out to conquer 'the tyrant of the world'.

The death of Zenocrate spurs Tamburlaine only to resume his remorseless pursuit of power and to continue sadistic acts of humiliation. Like the Christians before him, he defies heavenly and earthly powers. He burns 'the Turkish Alcoran' and other holy books. He denies the existence of Mohomet and then is suddenly overtaken by a sickness....

Peele's play not only drew on recent events and the King of Portugal's failed attempt to reconquer Morocco, but also reflected contemporary diplomatic negotiations between England and Morocco and England and Portugal

The battle secured the Moroccan throne for Muly Mahamet Seth, called Al-Mansur (the victorious), but the play begins with the rivalry for the throne between his brother, Abdelmelec, portrayed as a noble defender of law, and a devilish blackamoor, Muly Mahamet.

The play features Captain Thomas Stukeley, the Englishman who was popular enougth to have a play named after him. Stukeley fights alongside the King of Portugal and both are casulties in the battle. However, the perceived enemy is Spain not Morocco, and the play is anti-catholic rather than anti-Islamic.

Rarely Played Seminars, providing engaging and inspiring introductions to each of the plays featured in the READ NO DEAD series. Led by Dr Maggy Williams

Time 12 Noon
Tickets £16 (Prices include a ticket for the READ NOT DEAD performances)
Venue The Nancy W Knowles Lecture Theatre, at Shakespeare's Globe

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