By Mark Shenton
14 Jan 2014
The Rose Playhouse, Bankside's first theatre, is an indoor archaeological site, located near Shakespeare's Globe. This production is billed as the first London staging of The Massacre at Paris in over 400 years.
The Massacre at Paris is described in press materials as a retelling of the previous twenty years of the French Wars of Religion, beginning with the marriage of the Catholic sister of Charles IX of France to the Protestant Henry, King of Navarre, a marriage promising religious peace - a peace that is destroyed by the scheming Queen Mother, Catherine de Medici, in league with the villainous Duke of Guise, the ultimate Marlovian over-reacher.
At breakneck speed, we are shown the cold, careful planning of mass-murder, the shocking events of the notorious St Bartholomew’s Day Massacre in Paris, where thousands of Protestants were butchered in the streets on Aug. 23 1572, then Navarre’s flight, Charles’ death, and the accession to the French throne of his flamboyant, homosexual brother, Henry III, up to his murder in 1589, which left protestant Henry of Navarre as the new King of France.
The one surviving but undated edition of the play was once dismissed as a corrupt "memorial" version, although modern scholarship argues that its speed and unusually full stage directions suggest that this is in reality a record of the script as it was actually performed.
Director James Wallace has been involved with Shakespeare’s Globe for 15 years, directing, researching, acting and teaching. For the Globe's Read Not Dead project, which aims to give staged "script-in-hand performances" to all the surviving plays by Shakespeare’s contemporaries, he has directed over 50, and acted in 30 more.
It will be produced by Gene David Kirk for The Dolphin’s Back.
To book tickets, contact the box office on 20 7261 9565 or visit rosetheatre.org.uk