SHAKESPEARE’S VENUS AND ADONIS
A young Shakespeare wrote Venus and Adonis during a severe outbreak of the plague which shut all the London theatres – and denied him his primary source of income as a playwright. It was his first work to be published, immediately flying off the shelves and becoming the bestseller of its day. The poem’s commercial success was due in no small part to its wildly erotic passages which describe how, over a period of twenty four hours in a secluded wood, Venus attempts to seduce Adonis, a young and beautiful virgin boy.
WHY DRAMATISE THE POEM?
I read the poem and fell in love with its incredibly vivid language and pounding narrative. It is seldom performed, but the performer in me found Venus and Adonis extremely exciting - it was clearly the work of a dramatist and it had theatre at its core - so I set out to explore the possibility of turning the poem into a one-man play.
As I worked on the piece, researching it and exploring its themes, a darker and more sinister narrative started emerging from the soft-focus of Elizabethan erotica - and this narrative told the story of a young boy who, walking out of his front door one morning, is sexually assaulted and never returns home.
This is the story that I want to tell.
The more I understood the dark heart of the poem, the more I altered my approach.
The deeper I worked, the more shocking the narrative became.
I presented my ideas to the RSC who put my reimagining into R & D and I work-shopped an earlier version with them.
My research into Venus and Adonis led me to SurvivorsUK – a charity that supports male victims of sexual abuse, and who have been immensely helpful and supportive to me. I am hoping to work with them to support them in any way I can with this production.
Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2017
I am thrilled to be premiering my new one-man version of Venus and Adonis, at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2017.
Venus and Adonis will entertain, shock, thrill, provoke, challenge and surprise you. Just as working on the poem did me.