Arbery: Drama and Fiction, Old and New
Now We Are Pope: Frederick Rolfe in Venice

Now We Are Pope: Frederick Rolfe in Venice

July 3, 2020

Now We Are Pope; Frederick Rolfe in Venice by Martin Foreman

26 October 1913  

Alone in his room in a palazzo in Venice on the last day of his life, writer Frederick Rolfe ("Baron Corvo") reflects on the past, his thoughts spiritual and carnal, his memories caustic and unforgiving. A devout Catholic, although hostile to those of that faith, he never forgets that he, like the hero of his most famous novel, Hadrian VII, should have been made Pope.  

Now We Are Pope draws on Rolfe's writings - both his fiction, which often depicted real people lightly disguised, and his letters, which included malicious gossip and explicit descriptions of sexual encounters. All the characters mentioned in the play were real, except Septimus Scaptia, who appears in an unfinished novel, and Jeremiah Sant, who plays a key role in Hadrian VII's life. Ermenegildo Vianello ("Zildo") was a young gondolier whom Rolfe met soon after he arrived in Venice.

The play was first presented in London and Edinburgh in 2014 with Christopher Annus as Rolfe. The playscript is available from Arbery Books

Sunset

Sunset

June 26, 2020

Sunset

At the end of the day, a grandmother looks back at her life from marriage to the present day. A virgin on her wedding night who becomes a reluctant mother with a philandering husband, a stay-at-home wife who in middle-age discovers business skills she never suspected, over decades this woman's emotions have been severely tested and sometimes rewarded.

Audio version of the one-woman by Martin Foreman, with Maggie Macleod, presented at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2019. "four stars", All Edinburgh Theatre.

An earlier version of this story, set in North America, is in First and Fiftieth and other stories; order online at Arbery Books.

Kitchen Table

Kitchen Table

June 19, 2020

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Kitchen Table

a short story by Martin Foreman (publd 2002)

read by Gordon Houston

A sixteen-year-old, his girlfriend, first sex, fatherhood and a whirlwind of emotions. Story originally published in First and Fiftieth and other stories, available from Arbery Books.

Ben and Joe’s

Ben and Joe’s

June 12, 2020

Ben and Joe's

Ben and Joe's

a short story by Martin Foreman (publd 2002)

read by John Vernon

In a bar in Los Angeles a group of middle-aged gay white men while away their afternoons until their lives are disrupted by the arrival of a young black man. Story originally published in First and Fiftieth and other stories, available from Arbery Books.

Night Traffic

Night Traffic

June 3, 2020

Night Traffic by Martin Foreman

Night Traffic  

a short story by Martin Foreman (2002)  

read by Gordon Houston  

A motorway service station in the middle of the night. A young man and his lover on their way from Edinburgh to seek a new life in London.  

Trial podcast from Arbery Productions: arberyproductions.co.uk/podcasts.htm. Published in "First and Fiftieth and other stories" from arberybooks.co.uk.