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18th May 2023

Exeter students to perform play by Machiavelli, The Mandrake

Exeter College students will perform The Mandrake in 5th Week of Trinity Term. The play was written by Renaissance philosopher Niccolò Machiavelli (1469-1527) and has been adapted slightly for this production to provide more parts. It will be performed at Exeter’s historic Turl Street site from 23rd to 26th May.

The Mandrake tells the story of a man called Callimaco who wishes to sleep with a ‘wise young woman’. This wise young woman is married to an old fool, Nicia, and the action of The Mandrake centres on the trick that Callimaco and his fellow schemers play on him. The resulting play is not only amusing, but also provides a valuable insight into the political philosophy of one of the most influential thinkers in history.

Although best known for political treatises, especially The Prince, Machiavelli also penned a number of comedic plays, of which The Mandrake (Mandragola) is the most fondly remembered.

Exeter College’s much-loved Fellows’ Garden provides the perfect setting for the play’s farcical settings. Originally these would have been Tuscan, and the view of the Radcliffe Camera from the Fellows’ Garden echoes the “great cupola” (dome) of Florence Cathedral, helping to bring the scenes to life.

The second half of the play will see the action and the audience transported to the historic beauty of Exeter College’s chapel, enhancing the play’s comic and animated resolution.

Tickets are available to students and the wider public, including alumni. You can purchase tickets here.

Poster for The Mandrake

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