I started a blog late in 2013, after submitting a PhD, hoping that, with the thesis written, I’d have more time to devote to things that interested me. Typically, after writing a single post, I ran out of steam, sidelined by post-thesis fatigue and then distracted by other interests and obligations. But, I don’t want to give up on this just yet, so here I am, midway through the first month of a new year which already seems to be disappearing rapidly into the horizon, returning to the internet, and asking other people to consider things I have to say.
And since it is a new year I’ll begin with some thoughts about 2014, previewing a selection of events relating to Renaissance drama occurring in the first few months of the year. It’s not a definitive list of course, so please feel free to point out other things I should be excited about.
JANUARY is already half over, and I’ve not got plans, or tickets, to see anything in the theatre. I did, however, book tickets for the live cinema broadcast of the Donmar’s Coriolanus. I’ve never seen seen a live broadcast, having missed Othello last summer, and Richard II last autumn, but I’ll be interested in doing so, especially having read this discussion of the cinema/theatre experience by Erin Sullivan.
FEBRUARY offers me more opportunities for theatre-going. I’ll be looking to catch Ben Jonson’s The Alchemist at the Belgrade in Coventry, hoping that it is more successful than the clever but disappointing production of the play I saw last year at the Liverpool Playhouse. I’ll also try and see Propeller revive their brilliant production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. I saw it a few years ago and remember it as being the first time I’d ever really enjoyed a play in performance; I still think of it fondly as among the best things I’ve ever seen. Incidentally, I’ll also be making a (very) rare appearance in a play: I’ll be part of a staged reading of The Spanish Tragedy directed by Robert Ball, for the benefit of University of Birmingham undergraduates. I’ll be the Ghost.
MARCH is Marlowe month.It’s the 450 anniversary of Marlowe’s birth and to mark the occasion the Marlowe Theatre in Canterbury are producing Doctor Faustus, The Massacre at Paris,and The Jew of Malta. I’ll get to as many as I can! Like the proverbial London bus, productions of Marlowe’s The Massacre at Paris evidently arrive in twos: I’ll hope, also, to see the production in London, at the Rose. Elsewhere, I want to see the Read Not Dead performance of a play close to my own heart: John Marston’s The Fawn.
APRIL is the cruellest month, but it’s looking like a great one for early modern drama. I’ll definitely be seeing Marston’s The Malcontent at the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse; it’s a brilliant play which I reckon will work tremendously in the new venue. I’m intrigued also, to see it performed by a company of children. In Stratford, I’m eagerly awaiting the start of the RSC’s Roaring Girls season, which begins, appropriately enough, with The Roaring Girl by Dekker and Middleton. Arden of Faversham, a really great play, also opens at the end of the month. Finally, I’ll try and get to London for an exciting event on John Lyly, concluding with a performance of the wonderful Galatea by the acclaimed Edward’s Boys. Even if I can’t make that date, I’ll be sure to catch them in March, when they perform it at their school in Stratford.
What are you going to see in 2014?