DIRECTOR: DEREK JARMAN
COUNTRY: ENGLAND (1992)
MUSIC: Simon Fisher Turner.
CAST: Steven Waddington, Andrew Tiernan, Tilda Swinton, Nigel Terry, Jerome Flynn, John Lynch, Kevin Collins, Dudley Sutton, Annie Lennox
SUPER FEATURES: Extremely different approach to the renaissance writer's work. It works. This work is based on Christopher Marlowe's play.
Much like Peter Greenaway's PROSPERO'S BOOKS, this play is not for everyone, and specially for those who have intelectual visions about both the poetry and the play.
In keeping with the general trend in England over the past thirty years to assault all theatre with every interpretation of the same play, anyone can come up with, this play is not erratic, or strange to follow. In all probability, it carries more truth than it does theatre, if the situations
were considered possible, or true, if they were actual history.
The king is a homosexual (nothing new there) and has an affinity for a particular childhood friend (Gaveston) with whom he wishes to share the throne and every possession he has. However, this is a major problem for the nobility surrounding the court, and leads to the destruction of the king, supported by his jealous wife, who comes of as the gorgon. The Gaveston is ordered to be killed by the queen, and eventually the throne is taken away from Edward II and passed on to his young son, who happens to be a pawn in the whole thing.
While the conformists will never even stay for five minutes to watch this play, there is a bit too much kissing amidst the homosexuals in the court, the fact remains that its probability (were it fact, and there is no reason not to accept a bit of literary license upon an old story) of truth are actually better than the glorified events of any other tragedy, which both Marlowe and Shakespeare went after in the years to come.
There is also another thread which is difficult to ignore, and has also been explored on the stage. That Marlowe himself, was a young man that spent much of his time with other boys, thus sharing a few things with the king. However, this is not all too hard to take when it is a well known fact that younger men played all the roles of women in Shakespeare's time, and were well known to engage in sexual activity other than what was, and is, considered normal by any social standards. By all intents and purposes, this makes Doctor Faustus an exercise in narcissism, rather than a pact with the devil to fight an institution. At the time, much like the Hebrew counterparts, if a man was not married, or had children, he wasn't considered a man at all, but a detriment to society, and one to be made fun off. The same used to be the case with women.
Regardless of any of these facts, this is an excellent play, with some outstanding poetry, though it doesn't have the rhymes that Shakespeare was capable of, and it plays very straight forward......and well.
And although it isn't my special type of theatre, or the way I would really present it with its incredible directness and disregard for the audiences proclivities, it makes for a more open attitude in presentations, thus affording a better, clearer, and therefore more effective theme about the way humans tend to treat each other.
EXCELLENT PLAY. OUTSTANDING ACTING. NON COMPROMISING IDEALS.
And not for everybody.
Please email me with questions and/or comments
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