John Douglas Thompson rehearses “Tamburlaine.” Photo by Gerry Goodstein.

Previews begin Saturday, Nov. 1, at 7 p.m. for Christopher Marlowe’s 1587 epic “Tamburlaine, Parts I and II,” edited and directed by Olivier Award-winner Michael Boyd and starring John Douglas Thompson.

“Tamburlaine, Parts I and II,” with a company of 19 actors playing 60 roles in its first major New York production since Broadway in 1956, opens Sunday, Nov. 16, at 1 p.m. at the Theatre for a New Audience in the Polonsky Shakespeare Center, 262 Ashland Place.

Marlowe’s two-part drama will be performed as one three-and-a-half-hour play, plus a 30-minute intermission, through Dec. 21.

Boyd, former artistic director of the Royal Shakespeare Company, said, “The more I work on Marlowe’s great double-headed masterpiece, with John Douglas Thompson and this brilliant New York company of actors, the more we see how much Shakespeare learned and stole from him, and understand why.”

Jeffrey Horowitz, founding artistic director of Theatre for a New Audience, noted, “This is the second time we have produced Marlowe. The first was in 2007, when F. Murray Abraham played Barabas in Marlowe’s ‘The Jew of Malta’ in repertory with Shylock in Shakespeare’s ‘The Merchant of Venice.’ ‘Tamburlaine, Parts I and II’ is shocking, darkly funny and subversive. The story of a Scythian shepherd who rises to power to become king of half the world was more than a huge popular hit. Marlowe wrote about what was dangerous, unexpressed and just beneath the surface. Soon after it opened, seditious rumors circulated that artisans and workers, frustrated with the status quo, would identify with Tamburlaine and rebel against the government.”

“Tamburlaine, Parts I and II” launched Marlowe’s career and was revived again and again in and beyond his lifetime. The two parts are set in an imaginative time and space encompassing the medieval Ottoman Empire, Persia and Central Asia. Tamburlaine humbles kings and emperors, conquering vast territories while gathering ever more strength from his driving will.
Single tickets for the performance are now on sale. Prices range from $55 to $85 and may be purchased online, by phone at 866-811-4111, or in person at the Theatre for a New Audience Box Office, 262 Ashland Place.

Performances are Tuesday through Saturday evenings at 7 p.m., with matinees on Saturdays and Sundays at 1 p.m., except for Saturdays, Nov. 1 and 8, and Sundays, Nov. 2 and 9. There are two Sunday evening performances – Nov. 2 and 9. There is also a matinee, and no evening performance, on Wednesday, Nov. 26, and no performance on Thursday, Nov. 27.


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