Night and Day: Wednesday, January 9, 2003
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
The Favoriteof a King

Christopher Marlowe’s playwriting career overlapped a bit with Shakespeare’s, but before Marlowe’s stabbing death at age 29 under mysterious circumstances, he was the superstar of English theater and its first great playwright. His work has since been overshadowed by Shakespeare’s, but you don’t need to be a student of history to grasp his power.

Edward II is fascinating because it’s Marlowe’s only foray into English history. With his fits of temper and his foolhardy wish to divide the kingdom, Edward is presented as a bad king but not a bad man. His judgment is also impaired by his love for Piers Gaveston, a love which incurs the hatred of England’s nobles because Gaveston is French, a commoner, and male. (The hedonistic Gaveston gets some of Marlowe’s lushest language, and his declarations of love for the king are more frankly homoerotic than anything else written for the theater at the time.) Eventually, the nobles have Edward imprisoned and killed in a way that’s horrifying, metaphorically loaded, and historically accurate as far as Elizabethan England knew. It may not have the splendors of Doctor Faustus or the hellish energy of The Jew of Malta, but with its despicable villains and fine speeches, Edward II is a good introduction to Marlowe’s playwriting prowess.

The play receives three performances at TCU, with no admission charge and no need for reservations.

Edward II runs Sat-Sun at TCU, Hays Theatre, 2800 S University Dr, FW. Admission is free. Call 817-257-5770.


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