The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 18.0173 Friday, 2 March 2007
From: Steve Purcell <
Date: Thursday, 1 Mar 2007 12:14:18 -0000
Subject: 'Sappho and Phao' / Lyly Symposium
On 22nd to 25th March the Shakespeare Institute Players present their
production of John Lyly's 'Sappho and Phao' at the Shakespeare
The event will be held in conjunction with a symposium on Lyly at the
Institute on the afternoon of Saturday 24th March.
John Lyly was the most influential writer working in the London theatre
during the 1580s. His first two works, both prose narratives, were the
best-selling literary works of the English Renaissance, and his
subsequent eight plays, written to be performed before Elizabeth Tudor,
provide a remarkably different aesthetic to the dramaturgy later
established by Marlowe, Shakespeare, Kyd and co. (the dramaturgy now
thought of as "Renaissance" or "Shakespearean").
'Sappho and Phao' was Lyly's second play, and his first attempt to
represent Elizabeth to herself with an onstage female monarch. Sappho
is the chaste queen of Syracusa, and Venus and Cupid, in divine
irritation at her imperviousness to love, make her fall for the local,
and extremely dishy, ferry boy Phao. The play weighs up the various
class, sexual, and political intrigues resulting from this situation.
This will be the first staging of the play for over 400 years.
The performance will last roughly one hour and a half, will be lit by
the RSC, and include a new scoring of Lyly's song lyrics written by
Kirsty McGee and performed live by Kirsty and Mat Martin (
www.kirstymcgee.com). Performances are 7.30pm 22nd-24th March, with a
Sunday matinee at 2pm on 25th. Tickets are