A comedy based on historical fact that Da Vinci, Machiavelli and Borgia all lived under the same roof.
17th - 20th September at (with plans for extended run, Covid rules permitting)
An outdoor performance at the Grade ll listed Stephens House and Gardens, Finchley N3 3QE
Thu 17th Sep - Sun 20th Sep - 19.30 // Matinees Sat 19th & Sun 20th Sept 2.30pm
Press Night – Friday 18th Sept, 7:30pm
Sotto Voce is delighted to announce a brand new, Covid restriction adhering, outdoor world premiere of RENAISSANCE, a new comedy starring BAFTA and Olivier nominated Haydn Gwynne (Billy Elliot (West End and Broadway) Drop the Dead Donkey, Camilla in C4s The Windsors) and James Corrigan (Edmund in King Lear (West End), Mark Antony in Julius Caesar (RSC).
This production reunites four actors who were working at the National Theatre when lockdown was announced: Haydn Gwynne, James Corrigan and Akshay Sharan and Bethan Cullinane. Haydn Gwynne and James Corrigan have also been members of the RSC ensemble with Hannah Morrish and Bethan Cullinane.
The play is initially scheduled to run from the 17th – 20th September, but has plans to extend beyond the end of the month, if weather and current Covid restrictions permit.
It’s a mystery that has been tantalizing historians for centuries. For a short time in 1502, Leonardo da Vinci, Niccolò Machiavelli, and Cesare Borgia (whose fight for power was a major inspiration for ‘The Prince’ by Machiavelli), were all living under the same roof. This new comedy uses bold brushstrokes to re-imagine the interaction of these three extraordinarily charismatic and talented men, played by James Corrigan (Borgia), Akshay Sharan (da Vinci) and Nicholas Limm (Machiavelli).
The action begins with Borgia in crisis: he longs to escape the weight of ruling, so appoints a little-known politician called Machiavelli to rule in his place. At the same time, Leonardo da Vinci decides that the pressures of the artistic life are unbearable, so he goes into politics. When Borgia disguises himself as an artist in his own court, the circle of transformation is almost complete...
But the relationships between these famous men is not the only mystery. What really happened when Caterina Sforza defied Borgia’s army? And why did she take a vow of silence on the subject for the rest of her life?
Bethan Cullinane plays Caterina Sforza, while Hannah Morrish casts a new light on the period’s ‘femme fatale’, Lucrezia Borgia. Haydn Gwynne takes a star turn as the ‘grande dame’ of art collecting, and master of the waspish put-down, Isabella d’Este.
“As this play is all about re-birth and identity, it feels like exactly the right project for this moment. It’s written as deliberately as 'high style', and therefore works brilliantly for outdoor performance.
Due to Covid-19, this project has of course, faced a series of unique challenges, but conversely, we’ve been given a chance to assemble an extraordinary company of actors that we would most likely never had access to in normal times. Because of these combining factors, I think I’m right in saying that we’re lucky enough to be one of the very few pieces of new writing to be premiered in the UK this September.
Directing a socially distanced production with a play where everyone is trying to get close to everyone else has been an original experience, but we’ve had a very enjoyable rehearsal process exploring that, and it very much helps that the two actors who have to kiss on stage are in the same bubble off stage. Emma Butler (Director)
Dates: 17th - 20th September (with plans for extended run, Covid rules permitting)
An outdoor performance
Venue: Stephens House and Gardens, 17 E End Road, Finchley, London, N3 3QE
Times: 19.30 // Matinees Sat 19th & Sun 20th Sept 2.30pm