1616: New Play About Shakespeare

Shakespeare locks himself in his room where, burdened with secrets and memories, he draws together the lost and broken threads of his enigmatic life. Reflecting on his deepest loves, erotic adventures, dear friends, sworn enemies and greatest works, he wonders now where true value really lies.
At times controversial and always thoroughly researched, this sparse and physical show propels us through grimy underworlds, court subterfuges and romantic adventures.
1616 unpicks Shakespeare’s place in the theatre, his sometime questionable business dealings and the inspirations behind his works. It is an intelligent, fast paced, moving and humorous tribute to the life and work of the greatest playwright of all time.
Following five star reviews of Gareth Somers’ one man Woyzeck at Edinburgh 2014 and previous acclaim as playwright Christopher Marlowe, he revisits the one man format to play Shakespeare’s, old friends and adversaries in what promises to be a mesmerising performance of this lyrical and enlightening new play .
Kings image .

Gareth Somers : Dark Angel

Review: Dark Angel @ Lichfield Garrick Studio

Jul 8, 2011 by Annette Rubery

A bare set with books strewn across the floor, a pumping soundtrack by The Smiths and The Clash, a boy with a poem scrawled on his chest… this new play – written by Phil Preece for the Lichfield Festival, and directed by Tracey Street – is a fresh and vibrant imagining of the life of Elizabethan bad-boy Christopher Marlowe.

A contemporary of Shakespeare, Marlowe is said to have been killed in a tavern brawl in 1593, but Preece’s script skilfully draws on recent scholarly theories that the playwright/poet was, in fact, a government operative, sent to Rome to spy on the Catholics. The brawl, some believe, was simply a cover-story that allowed Marlowe to escape growing trouble in England and abscond to Italy, where he spent his final years in exile.

Dark Angel is a lively snapshot of Elizabethan England that succeeds in blowing the cobwebs off one of our greatest literary figures. Gareth Somers is splendid as Marlowe: an old rabble-rouser, now drunk and disillusioned, looking back on his rackety life. We share in the success of his radical plays, his discovery of Rome’s seamy nightlife, and finally, his bitterness at being kept from England, and the theatre: the site of his greatest achievements.

Somers is backed by a cast of three young actors (Louis Tappenden, Sian Blue Rogers and Bally Gill), whose physical performances, using minimal props and simple lighting, conjure up an irresistible punk aesthetic. As the play draws to a close we see the fate of Marlowe’s character Doctor Faustus – who famously sells his soul to the devil – begin to merge with that of his creator.