Burning the Koran
IT WAS the surprise hit of the autumn season, selling out for its entire run and inspiring rave reviews. But now the producers of Tamburlaine the Great have come under fire for censoring Christopher Marlowe's 1580s masterpiece to avoid upsetting Muslims.
Audiences at the Barbican in London did not see the Koran being burnt, as Marlowe intended, because David Farr, who directed and adapted the classic play, feared that it would inflame passions in the light of the London bombings.
Not being an Art's Grad my knowledge of Elizabethan plays is pretty much limited to playing the Porter in a school production of The Scottish Play (typecasting - can I sue?) so this play was unknown to me, but I do like the sound of it.
THE OFFENDING LINES - follow....
Tamburlaine: Now, Casane, where’s the Turkish Alcoran, And all the heaps of superstitious books Found in the temples of that Mahomet Whom I have thought a god? They shall be burnt . . .
. . . In vain, I see, men worship Mahomet.
My sword hath sent millions of Turks to hell, Slew all his priests, his kinsmen, and his friends, And yet I live untouch’d by Mahomet.
There is a God, full of revenging wrath, From whom the thunder and the lightning breaks, Whose scourge I am, and him will I obey.
So Casane; fling them in the fire.
(They burn the books.)
Now, Mahomet, if thou have any power, Come down thyself and work a miracle.
Thou art not worthy to be worshipped That suffers flames of fire to burn the writ Wherein the sum of thy religion rests . . .
. . . Well, soldiers, Mahomet remains in hell; He cannot hear the voice of Tamburlaine.
Seek out another godhead to adore:
The God that sits in heaven, if any god, For he is God alone, and none but he.
Act V, scene i Tamburlaine the Great