'As for myself, I walk abroad o' nights, And kill sick people groaning under walls: Sometimes I go about and poison wells; And now and then, to cherish Christian thieves, I am content to lose some of my crowns, That I may, walking in my gallery, See 'em go pinion'd along by my door.' (II.iii.177-84)
So gloats Barabas, the vengeful protagonist of Christopher Marlowe's most controversial and groundbreaking play. Set just off the coast of Italy, on the island of Malta, 'The Jew of Malta' tells of the exploits of Barabas and his pursuit to protect his most cherished riches from the Maltese people that will deal in blood and murder to wrench free his precious gold. Rife with prejudice, excess and sheer barbarity, this precursor to 'The Merchant of Venice' is Elizabethan theatre at its most Machiavellian.
This rare production of 'The Jew of Malta' is part of the Marlowe Society's year-long festival of works, celebrating the 450th anniversary of Christopher Marlowe's birth. The play itself will take place in Corpus Christi College Gardens, where Marlowe's old room can be seen overlooking the gardens!