Sunday, November 16, 2008
Badge of Hell
"The School of Night" is a new play by Peter Whelan at the Mark Taper Forum, the recently reopened theater widely considered to be Los Angeles' most prestigious theater.
The play looks at the mysterious circumstances surrounding the death of Christopher Marlowe, a contemporary of William Shakespeare. According the program "the School of Night was a group of intellectuals in Elizabethan England who met in secret to discuss and explore new ideas. These men studied science, philosophy and religion, included Sir Walter Raleigh, Christopher Marlowe, Lord Henry Percy, Ingram Frizer, Richard Baines and Thomas Harriot, among others. In an effort to discredit them and their ideas, these freethinkers were labeled as atheists, a dangerous accusation during these times. William Shakespeare seems to have made reference to The School of Night in 'Love's Labour's Lost' when he says, '...Black is the badge of hell. The hue of dungeons and the School of Night.'"
This play has a large cast with lots of characters coming and going. I can't say I understood every bit of the show but I found it's exploration of Elizabethan England interesting.
Robert Perdziola's costumes have received quite a bit of notice and understandably so. The costumes are truly beautiful with lots of patterns on the fabrics and lots of layers.