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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)       5.99


Now We Are Pope by Martin Foreman

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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, two short story collections and several plays, all available from Arbery Books. He is the winner of the 2012 London Solo Festival New Writing Award and the 2018 Pitlochry Festival Theatre Short Play Award. In August 2018 he is directing two of his plays - his adaptation of Ben Jonson's Jacobean comedy Volpone and a new one-act drama Casanova Dreaming - at the Edinburgh Fringe.

Martin was born in Dundee, went to school and university in Edinburgh, then spent many years working and living in London and across the world. He has returned to live in Edinburgh and does not expect to move far from the city again. He dislikes categories but for those who insist on them, he is a British writer who happens to be gay and whose primary themes are love, loss and the intensity of emotions. As well as writing, he acts occasionally on stage and in short films.

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





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