Plays About Marlowe

The plays and links on this page are about or reference Christopher Marlowe and/or his works. It is remarkable just how many new plays have been inspired by the events in and surrounding the life of Marlowe and we are delighted to bring some of the best of them to a wider audience by publishing them on this website. These are all original works and we have been given permission by their authors to be placed on here.

Please contact us if you require more information or if you wish to use one of these plays for performance or group reading: they are an excellent way to encourage discussion and participation


One-Act Play
FOLIO
by Malcolm Elliott 

Introduction
Watching a play like Folio is bound to make one question the evidence on which it is based. The story of Orsino’s visit to Elizabeth is told in great detail by Leslie Hotson in his book The First Night of ‘Twelfth Night’, published in 1954. What happened to Marlowe at Deptford is disputed, but doubt about the official account of his death, as well as much detail about his life, can be found on the Marlowe website of Peter Farey: http://www.rey.prestel.co.uk

Please click on the pdf link below:

One-Act Play.pdf


Professor Vicki Ann Cremona and Dr Julian Ng

Interview with Dr Vicki Ann Cremona

Marlowe Society membership officer, Dr Julian Ng, was recently in Malta and met up with Dr Vicki Ann Cremona, the Chair of the School of Performing Arts at the University of Malta.

Dr Cremona had delivered a talk about on Christopher Marlowe and works, particularly his seminal play “The Jew of Malta“, which was performed for the first time ever in Malta. The production was performed from 5-10 October 2018 and produced by Malta’s esteemed Manoel Theatre. (We included this information in our Events Calendar).

The Jew of Malta is one of the few classical plays set entirely on the Maltese islands, and as testament to Marlowe’s great imagination, takes place in an alternate reality where the Great Siege never happened – and the fabled Knights of Malta had to pay tributes to Turkish Sultan in order to avoid a war.

Dr Cremona talks about how Marlowe’s dexterity and prowess in writing about anti-heroes lead to masterpieces on characters who fight over power, religion, politics and greed – themes which are still frighteningly relevant to today’s society.

Listen to the audio interview below:


RSC Tamburlaine Review II

Photo by Ellie Kurttz. Copyright RSC
Photo by Ellie Kurttz. Copyright RSC

The Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC)’s production of Christopher Marlowe’s Tamburlaine was exciting, dramatic, and emotional.  The show combined both parts of Marlowe’s seminal play into 200 action-packed minutes.

The staging of the play was minimal but effective. Michael Boyd’s direction used the entire theatre, with supporting players declaiming their lines from the audience. Characters were introduced and their changes in fortune viscerally illustrated with simple costume changes or splashes of blood. We see Tamburlaine decimating king after king, and when Bajazeth (Sagar I M Arya) is wheeled out in an iron cage, you feel the hairs stand on the back of your neck at what could possibly happen next.

Photo by Ellie Kurttz. Copyright RSC
Photo by Ellie Kurttz. Copyright RSC

The violent deaths were stylishly graphic, and, combined with the throbbing bass of timpani and orchestral undercurrents, lent to a heightened sense of the macabre.

The eponymous Scythian shepherd played as arrogance personified by Jude Owusu, delivered Marlowe’s beautiful lines with both pomp as well as pain. You fear for Zenocrate (Rosy McEwen) when she pleads for her father’s life, and even hope against hope when, as Callapine, she spurs other kings to rise up against the tyrannical Tamburlaine.

A great supporting cast worked to show how unbridled ambition for power unravels with chilling consequences. Some parts were a little over-acted, but, given the scale of the drama, can be excused since the languid but emotion-logged language towers above everything else – little nuances in quieter scenes and smacking theatregoers in the face during vicissitudinal melodrama.

Review by Julian Ng.


Martext play reading workshops

The Knight of the Burning Pestle

Martext workshop online every other Monday @ 6.00pm (UK). We are finishing Francis Beaumont’s “The Knight of the Burning Pestle” on 5th April.  Bring ur own drink! 
 
 
Dates for the next Martext workshops when we’ll be reading Twelfth Night:
 
19th April
3rd, 17th May
 

For Zoom link email: research@marlowe-society.org

 


Works

Marlowe has left us from his short, but brilliant, career seven plays, and in several of them he was a pioneer in that particular genre. Of these Tamburlaine Parts 1 and 2 caused the greatest excitement among his contemporaries. The heroic nature of its theme, coupled with the splendour of the blank verse and the colour and scale of its pageantry led to its constant revival, with the great actor Edward Alleyn taking the part of Tamburlaine.Alleyn was to take the lead in other Marlowe plays, and to share in their triumph, notably The Jew of Malta and Dr. Faustus. The Jew of Malta may be termed the first successful black comedy or tragi-comedy, and provided Shakespeare with his inspiration for Shylock. Dr. Faustus, though a moral drama brought about by the overreaching of the human spirit and of free thinking in a superstitious age, is a delightful blend of tragic verse and comedy.

Edward II is probably the earliest successful history play, and paved the way for Shakespeare’s more mature histories such as Richard II, Henry IV and Henry V. It too is a moving tragedy, and contains fine verse, and an impelling characterisation of a weak and flawed monarch. Marlowe’s Dido, Queen of Carthage is an early work derived in part from Virgil’s Aeneid, which, though rarely performed, contains much fine and moving verse. The Massacre at Paris was much admired by the Elizabethans, with its near-contemporary depiction of the murders and scandals instigated by the French Court. Sadly only a severely mutilated version has survived.

Hero and Leander is the greatest poem of Marlowe’s that has come down to us, though much of his love poetry apart from the well-known Come Live With Me, and Be My Love has been lost. George Chapman completed the unfinished Hero and Leander, and it was published finally in 1598.

Shortly afterwards the memorable verse translations of Ovid’s Elegies, the Amores, and of Lucan’s First Book of the Civil War, called Pharsalia appeared in quick succession. The translation of Amores was a massive task, and all forty-eight of Ovid’s poems were turned into elegiac couplets. Much of the verse is exceedingly beautiful, though the quality is sometimes uneven. No one has ever attempted the task since. The blank verse of the Lucan translation is at times very powerful, and it is thought this work dates from Marlowe’s university days.

Published Works

Marlowe’s published plays and poems

Play/Poem Date Written First Printed
The First Book of Lucan c.1582
Ovid’s Amores c.1582 1600?1
Dido, Queen of Carthage2 c.1585/6 1594
The First Part of Tamburlaine the Great c.1586/7 15903
The Second part of Tamburlaine the Great4 c.1587 15905
The Jew of Malta6 c.1589 1633
Doctor Faustus7 c.15898 16049
Edward the Second10 c.1592 1594
The Massacre at Paris11 c.1592 ?12
Hero and Leander c.159313 1598

Possible Works

Anonymous works possibly attributable to Marlowe (compiled by A.D.Wraight)

Play/Poem Date Written First Printed
The True History of George Scanderbeg14 c.1582 160115
Edward the Third16 c.1588 159617
Arden of Faversham18 c.1589 159219
The First Part of the Contention betwixt the Two Famous Houses of York and Lancaster20 c.1590 159421
The True Tragedy of Richard, Duke of York22 c.1590/1 159523
Henry VI24 c.1592 162325

Footnotes

Dr Faustus at the Arcola

Dr Faustus at the Arcola

An unquenchable desire for fame drives Faustus to learn the magic of the dark arts. Tangle, South West England’s African Caribbean theatre company, interweave southern African-inspired music with electric performances from a trinity of actors, including Joshua Liburd (Dreamgirls), in this unique version of Christopher Marlowe’s classic.

Click here to read more and buy tickets