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Now We Are Pope: Frederick Rolfe in Venice
by Martin Foreman
"I have many enemies, but what I need, Zildo, is a Friend.
The Divine Friend. The Friend whose beauty shines from body and soul."

The writer Frederick Rolfe ("Baron Corvo") was born in London in 1860 and died in Venice in 1913. A complex, cantankerous and contradictory character, Rolfe destroyed friendships with the same intensity he sought to make them. A convert to Catholicism, his greatest ambition was to be a priest, but inability to get on with fellow students, unwillingness to conform and growing debts led to him twice being expelled from seminary.

An intensely proud man, Rolfe rejected all charity while living off loans that were seldom repaid. Strongly attracted to handsome young men, he swore celibacy for most of his adult life. A talented author who described writing as a loathsome occupation, his works today are mostly out of print - except for Hadrian The Seventh, in which a man long denied the priesthood is suddenly elected Pope . . .
Martin Foreman's one-man play depicts Rolfe in Venice on the last day of his life, pottering around his room, occasionally addressing his companion-servant, whose presence is felt but never seen. As he looks back on his life, his thoughts both spiritual and carnal, his memories caustic and unforgiving, Rolfe's mind teeters into the fantasy that he is indeed Pope.

A powerful and sympathetic portrayal of a talented, troubled individual. Includes a short biography of Rolfe and detailed text notes.

"eloquent and insightful . . . wonderfully believable" Everything Theatre

ISBN 978-0-9933546-0-1
soft cover, 45pp (app 45 mins on stage)
published 29 October 2015

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Now We Are Pope by Martin Foreman

read an extract

Frederick Rolfe at the Scots College in Rome

Rolfe at the Scots College
in Rome, ca 1890

Martin Foreman is the author of two novels (Weekend and The Butterfly's Wing), two short story collections (A Sense of Loss and First and Fiftieth) and several plays as well as non-fiction and journalism. He began acting in 2011, appearing in several productions on the London fringe; that led to writing for the stage and more recently to work as a director.

writing website: martinforeman.com               theatre / film website: martinforeman.me.uk

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