After completing their 20-year journey to perform all of Shakespeare’s plays last year, York Shakespeare Project have announced the next phase of their mission – to stage the works of his contemporaries over the next 25 years.
To kickstart their work on Shakespeare’s peers, the company will bring to life Christopher Marlowe’s classic drama, Edward II.
Edward II is at Theatre@41, Monkgate, from Tuesday 17 to Saturday 21 October.
Edward II is king at last. Determined to shower his loved ones with gifts, he summons his exiled lover, Gaveston. With King, court, and country intoxicated by their passions, the Queen takes her own lover and the nation is torn apart in a merciless divorce. Their child watches from the shadows, desperate to mend this broken family and nation – or bring them to heel.
York Shakespeare Project are aiming to bring a fresh and modern perspective to the classic work.
“Like Marlowe himself, we wanted to focus less on historical accuracy or psychological realism, and instead as a fantasia of power and love,” said director Tom ‘Strasz’ Straszewski.
James Lee, who plays Gaveston, comments that the play touches on contemporary issues of cancel culture, celebrity and social mobility, with his character destroyed for daring to reach above his station.
“I think Marlowe would get a real kick out of how relevant his characters are,” he said.
“In a world of tabloids and gossip, characters like Gaveston rise and fall every day. Social mobility is championed and demonised. We’re never allowed to forget the roles we are supposed to play, regardless of our dreams.”
Tickets for Edward II start from £12 and are available via the Theatre@41 website.