Successful Elizabethan playwright and Shakespeare’s contemporary Christopher Marlowe is buried in an unmarked grave not far from where I reside, in the churchyard of St Nicholas, Deptford. It was on May 18, 1593 that Marlowe was arrested for blasphemy. Ten days later his mysterious early death was reported after being knifed in a local tavern. He was only 29.
One of his most renowned plays was ‘The Tragical History of the Life and Death of Doctor Faustus’, commonly referred to simply DOCTOR FAUSTUS, based on the German ‘Faustbuch’. The story of an embittered academic, frustrated with the futility of religion and desperate for a deeper understanding of the universe, he risks everything to conjure up a meeting with the demon Mephistophilis, asking him to make a deal with the devil and selling his soul in return for the ability to perform absolutely anything including the power to perform black magic. References to ‘The Devil’s Pact’ go back as far as the 4th Century, but Marlowe’s hero differs in that his protagonist is unable to repent in order to have the pact annulled.
Playing the title role in Jamie Lloyd’s latest revival at the Duke of York’s theatre is another 29 year-old Christopher… Christopher Catesby Harington, commonly known as Kit, making his first return to the London boards since playing Albert in the National Theatre’s WAR HORSE. As the new series of HBO’s GAME OF THRONES is about to screen, he confirmed that his character, Jon Snow, was killed off and dies in the snow at the hands of his own men in the series 5 finale. “I do appear in the new series, but as a corpse,” he revealed to the NY Daily News. “It’s my best work”, he joked.
The show’s massive fan base has descended upon the theatre in droves. I joined the frenzied gathering at the end of the stage door alleyway on Saturday night, held out this quick drawing of Kit as Faustus and he managed to sign it for me, before barriers were installed and some decorum prevailed… and Kit left.