Founded by veteran actors Dan Hodge and Damon Bonetti, the Philadelphia Artists’ Collective is attempting to bring underutilized classics to Philly audiences. Since 2008, they’ve dusted off works by Pedro Calderon de la Barca, George Bernard Shaw, John Webster and Philip Massinger.
Now the company is developing the oft-overlooked “Edward II” by Christopher Marlowe, an author who may be the definition of an overlooked classic.
“There are these incredible writers who were working as Shakespeare’s contemporaries and sometimes collaborators, and their work is all too infrequently seen,” says Adam Immerwahr, the associate producer of the McCarter Theatre, who is leading this project for PAC. “It is often incredibly dramatic, thrilling work that is every bit as powerful as many of Shakespeare’s plays. And not all of Shakespeare’s plays are [as good as] ‘Hamlet.'”
On Monday, PAC will present a one-night-only, in-progress presentation of the play — a rare opportunity to see “Edward” in the flesh.
In the play, the English court revolts against their King for his intimate relationship with exiled courtier Piers Gaveston.
“As a piece of — let’s call it queer theater — the play illuminates other Renaissance drama,” explains Immerwahr. “Plays like ‘Troilus and Cressida’ — the language around the characters starts to sound like something more than just an intense male friendship, but you can read it either way. In ‘Edward’ there’s really no question what the relationship is, so it starts to make you reflect on other plays from the period.”