It’s about marriage, lust, adultery, corruption and deceit – all aided by the Mandrake Infusion. Machiavelli’s comedy is one of the landmarks of the Italian Renaissance – it marks the break with Medieval drama and is the forerunner of Shakespeare’s comedies.

It played to packed houses in the Florence of the Medici; in Venice it was so popular that the audience overwhelmed the stage and made it impossible to complete; and in the Vatican it made Leo X and his cardinals delirious with delight over the play’s scenes of clerical corruption. And it has remained popular ever since.

 

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