After visiting the British Museum, I went to the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, to see Kit Marlowe's Edward II.
It is famous for being (probably) the earliest play in English featuring a homosexual relationship, and was first performed in 1592. It is, as you might guess from the title, a history play, about King Edward II, who reigned from 1307-1327, and (at least according to the play) was murdered by way of a red hot poker .
In this production, Edward is played by Tom Stuart, and Gaveston by Beru Tessema.
Edward comes across as a man out of his depth, overshadowed by his late father, insecure, but ill-advisedly stubborn, even pig-headed, when pushed..
It is interesting that the focus of the other characters anger against Gaveston is focused less on the fact that he is the King's lover, and more upon Gaveston's birth (he is not a member of the nobility, and the King's choices to grant him lands and titles offends them ) and the King's extravagance. Indeed, one of the nobles (Mortimer,I think) makes it explicitly clear that the King having favourites, or lovers, isn't in itself the problem.
|Sam Wanamaker Playhouse stage|