Most world leaders tend to be at home in both brothels and palaces, but few are as open with their appetites as John Wilmot, the Second Earl of Rochester. A trusted friend of King Charles II, Rochester was a rake and roue whose behavior would not be tolerated in someone without his wealth, privilege and protection.
That's the focus of Stephen Jeffreys' dark comedy, The Libertine, which explores the decadence and hypocrisy of 17th century England -- and, one gathers, modern times as well. Though The Libertine made waves at London's Royal Court Theatre, and a big splash at Chicago's Steppenwolf Theatre (where John Malkovich starred as Lord Rochester), an expected New York commercial and regional life for the drama never materialized. However, the show will get a rare West Coast airing when the Pasadena Shakespeare Company stages Jeffreys' play, July 2-Aug. 8, officially opening July 9.
Artistic director Gillian Bagwell directs the piece, which contains fairly graphic language and content. For tickets call (626) 564-8564.
In August and September 1999 PSC will serve up Pearls and Marlowe, based on Raymond Chandler's stories "Goldfish" and "Red Wind." Adapted by Robert G. Egan, the "theatre noir" piece will be directed by Dana Marley.
The '99 season will conclude with Shakespeare's The Merry Wives of Windsor, which features everyone's favorite rogue, Falstaff. Jane Macfie and Patrick Lawlor are the co- directors. PSC is located in suite 296 of the Plaza Pasadena Mall at 300 E. Colorado Blvd. Call (626) 564-8564.
-- By David Lefkowitz and Willard Manus
Southern California Correspondent