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About this show

Marlowe's two plays based on the life of the 14th century conqueror Timur the Lame, were among the most successful on the Elizabethan stage. They are rarely performed in full today - producers and directors preferring to conflate the two plays in one. Part One charts Tamburlaine's ruthless rise from Scythian shepherd to 'most puissant and mightye monarque'. He conquers nearly every city and country on his maps of North Africa and the Middle East: Persia, Turkey, Fez, Argiers, Morocco, Damascus and Arabia. The number and nature of the deaths described or depicted on stage will startle the ear and eye. Only his love for the fair and divine Zenocrate rivals his lust for power. His final victory in this part is the defeat of Zenocrate's father, the Soldan of Egypt. For once Tamburlaine is 'compassionate' and restores the Soldan's lands. He does so standing over the dead bodies of the King of Arabia, Bajazeth, Emperor of Turkey, and Bajazeth's wife, and declares 'a truce with all the world'. But only until Part Two.

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