Christopher Marlowe: Edward II
Count Not Your Victories Before the
Last Machine Gun Blast
Red Bull's Production of Christopher Marlowe's - Edward II - Count Not Your Victories Before the Last Machine Gun Blast
Perhaps it was the shock of the Obama and Huckabee upsets in Iowa, but The Red Bull Theater's matinee performance of Christopher Marlowe's Edward II on Saturday, January 5, 2008 confirmed two important points. In life, as in politics, according to Marlowe: A.) One can never be too secure, and B.) it's essential to keep your ass covered. A young company, Red Bull is "...committed to the presentation of vital and imaginative productions of heightened language plays and to the development of new plays written in a similar vein. With a special focus on the Jacobean plays of Shakespeare and his contemporaries, Red Bull Theater aspires to challenge the intellect and engage the imagination of today's theatergoers...;" and with Garland Wright's adaptation of Edward II, they did just that.
Rarely performed because of the violence and sexual content plus the difficulty of its language, Edward II speaks to the combustive nature of love and politics. Garland's adaptation underlines the "dangerous intersection of the personal and the political" and anticipates the political campaigns we now endure. The Red Bull's production captured all the violence, sex, and magnificent language of the original while maintaining a contemporary aura. Although at times the court of Edward of England seemed a bit too much like a leather bar, kudos to the company for taking on such a daunting work of theater. Each member of the cast was an essential element in the production's powerful recreation of this classical masterpiece and to point out any performance would diminish the outstanding ensemble work. The design choices of John Arnone (set), Clint Ramos (costumes), Peter West (lighting),Scott Killian (composer), and Chris Peifer (sound), underscored the sensually violent aspects of the era. Directed by Jesse Berger, this Edward II was a vibrant lesson in ambition, power politics, and the ultimate political questions - "Does the end justify the means?" The final image Berger left us with a ten year-old cocking a rifle. Violence breeds violence. Wherefore Darfur? I look forward to more from Red Bull.
Edward II, a Jacobean classic by Christopher Marlowe opened on December 15,2007 and will complete its run on January 26,2008. A Red Bull Theater Production, directed by Jesse Berger at The Peter Jay Sharp Theater, 416 West 42nd St., New York, N.Y. Tickets are available by visiting TicketCentral or by calling (212) 279-4200. For further information visit Red Bull Theater