March 31: Shakespeare and Marlowe Side by Side with Allison Benko


March 31: Shakespeare and Marlowe Side by Side with Allison Benko

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It is nearly impossible to avoid comparing Christopher Marlowe to his more famous contemporary, William Shakespeare. They were born in the same year into the same social class in similar towns, and both gained fame for celebrated work in the same profession in the same city within the same decade. These surface similarities have inspired some to believe that Marlowe even wrote Shakespeare's plays.

In fact, these were two entirely different personalities. Marlowe was an unapologetic member of Queen Elizabeth's spy network, the author of an atheistic manuscript full of "vile heretical conceips,” and the victim of a violent murder. Shakespeare's life was comparatively tidy, and his plays reflect it. His comedies end neatly in marriage, and his tragedies are filled with flattery towards Queen Elizabeth and King James respectively.

Marlowe's plays flatter no one. Like Marlowe, they are daring, blasphemous, homoerotic, and they do not play by the rules. Where Shakespeare adulates, Marlowe offends; where Shakespeare is lawful, Marlowe is chaotic; where Shakespeare assembles, Marlowe annihilates. This workshop will highlight the juxtapositions between Shakespeare's and Marlowe's lives and artistries. Participants will leave with a greater understanding of Marlowe's significance to theatre history, knowledge of the commonalities and differences between Shakespeare's and Marlowe's works, and new monologues from Marlowe's plays.

This workshop will take place on Sunday, March 31st 1:30-5:30 pm

Limited space available.

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Allison Benko is a director, playwright, and teaching artist based in Brooklyn. Recent directing work includes the world premiere of the musical Single Rider (Players Theatre), the world premiere of the play What Happened That Night (Project Y), the world premiere of The End of Mermaids (Corkscrew Theatre Festival), and a lauded production of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night featuring a live string band (No-Name Collective). Benko has worked extensively as an assistant director, most notably on Lincoln Center's multi-Tony Award winning production of Oslo, and on Dragon Spring Phoenix Rise, which will be part of The Shed's inaugural season. Benko is also deeply interested in South Asian shadow puppetry, and is a former guest artist at the Tholpavakoothu Puppet Centre in Kerala. She holds a B.A. in Drama from Tufts University, and she is an alumna of the Lincoln Center Directors' Lab. Upcoming work as teaching artist includes teaching playwrighting at multiple high schools in Vermont through Weston Playhouse Theatre Company's "Young Playwrights Project." Current projects include A Doll’s House: A New Opera at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2019. Learn more at