As an amateur Shakespearean, I read Marlowe—any Marlowe but especially Tamburlaine—and I wondered how he could be so highly regarded. I understand that this play in particular was the Titanic of its time and that Marlowe probably inspired Shakespeare, especially with Henry VI, Parts One and Two. But by Henry VI, Part Three, young Will had surpassed young Kit in drawing characters and creating metaphors, and soon Shakespeare was heading to his own sphere of imagery, characterization, and nuanced language and portrayals. Within a couple of years of his death, Marlowe’s plays, and this play in particular, were outdated.
In the hands of professional Shakespeareans—or professional Marloweans, for that matter, as was the case in this lusciously-costumed production—Tamburlaine the Great not only shows us the foundation upon which the great Shakespeare launched his own campaign, it also proves to be particularly timely for 2011. Yes, this play is bombastic in its speeches and characters, from the titular Scythian shepherd who conquers the Eastern World to the lieutenants who dote on him, from the succession of kings he subdues to their women. Yes, these characters are as dimensionally drawn as those of a graphic novel. Yes, the verse is rigidly formal. It is mighty verse. Nobody talks that way, not now and probably not then.
For the best seats, order your Tamburlaine the Great tickets today!
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Shakespeare's Joan of Arc (Henry VI, Part 1) (C)
Saturday, November 28, 2015, 2:00 pm
The Winter's Tale (C)
Saturday, November 28, 2015, 7:30 pm
A Midsummer Night's Dream (C)
Sunday, November 29, 2015, 2:00 pm
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