Now, gentlemen, betake you to your arms,
And see that Malta be well fortified;
And it behoves you to be resolute;
For Calymath, having hover’d here so long,
Will win the town, or die before the walls.
FIRST KNIGHT. And die he shall; for we will never yield.
It has always seemed to me that, while the first part of Tamburlaine the Great is all
black and white and red and gold, Marlowe’s later play, The Jew of Malta, bursts with colours.
It struck me from the very first time I met on the page Barabas, the eponymous Jew, first seen in his counting-house, lamenting the nuisance of counting silver… Continue reading
But if you love the words, and all the imagining the words can spark off, then a play-reading group might be your thing. It might be mine: much as I have been increasingly busying myself with such production aspects as stage direction and lighting, I’m a playwright first. And, words being my stuff, I would love to be part of a project like The Paper Stage: people gathering at the Gulbenkian Cafè, in Canterbury, to read Elizabethan plays aloud.
No experience needed, and, from what I gather, no rehearsals: one just lets the group know, turns up, and… reads. And the play takes on a life of its own, judging by last month’s Romeo and Juliet. Oh, to be in England, now that such a brilliant idea is here…
As researcher and blogger Eoin Price says in his asidenotes, this means a chance to hear – if not to see – performed plays that are seldom staged, and to explore the varied richness of Elizabethan theatre in much more depth than it is usual.
Wish I could be in Canterbury next Monday, for the second Paper Stage event, a reading of Marlowe’s Jew of Malta. And because obviously I can’t, I’m already wondering: can I think up a Paper Stage-like group around here?