Theatre Pages
Dido, Queen of Carthage
by Christopher Marlowe
The American Repertory Theatre (A.R.T.), of Cambridge, Massachusetts, under the
leadership of Robert Woodruff, Artistic Director, Gideon Lester, Associate Artistic
Director, and Robert J. Orchard, Executive Director — presents Christopher Marlowe’s
Dido, Queen of Carthage; directed by Neil Bartlett and designed by Rae
Smith. The production opens at the Loeb Drama Center, Harvard Square, on Saturday,
March 5, 2005,  at 8 pm, and runs through Saturday, March 26, 2005.
John Kelly (Cupid), Diane D'Aquila (Dido). Photo: Richard Feldman.
March 20, 2005

This afternoon I saw a performance of Christopher Marlowe's
Dido, Queen of Carthage, at the American Repertory Theatre in Cambridge, Massachusetts.  The play was directed by Neil Bartlett.  It tells the familiar story of Dido and Aeneas  told by Vergil in the Aeneid, also well known from Purcell's opera.  In Marlowe's play, gods and goddesses--Jupiter, Juno, Venus, Mercury, and Cupid--are among the characters.  John Kelly as Cupid is assigned a special prominence in this production.  He engineers many of the events and is often on stage as a witness.  He moves like a dancer and often appears in little more than a loincloth.  He also sings two songs in a countertenor voice.  Like Shakespeare, Marlowe mixed both the serious and the comic in his drama.  Both aspects were well done in this production. Diane D'Aquila (Dido) has a voice that it is a pleasure to hear, and she delivered her lines very well, in the manner of a Shakepsearean actress.  Colin Lane as Aeneas was also quite good, especially in his speech recounting the horrors of the fall of Troy.  The gods provided some of the humor, especially Saundra McClain as Venus and Thomas Derrah in drag as Juno.  I enjoyed the performance more than I thought I might have.  The performance lasted two hours and ten minutes without intermission.  I would have preferred it with an intermission.
Sam Chase (Hermes) and Colin Lane (Aeneas). Photo: Richard Feldman.