Theatre Department Stages "The Mandrake"

Although written in the sixteenth century, The Mandrake’s satire about sex, power, gender, and deceit is hilariously modern.

The Department of Theatre Arts will present Wallace Shawn’s translation of Niccolò Machiavelli’s comic critique November 14–17 in Rooke Theatre. Roger Babb directs the play, which is performed more than any other from the Italian Renaissance because it continues to provoke laughter and because its subject matter is controversial and contemporary. Set and costume design for this production are by New York designer and guest artist Jessica Ford, with lighting and sound design by Lara Dubin.

Those familiar with Niccolò Machiavelli’s classic political treatise The Prince will see a different side of the Italian diplomat, historian, and political theorist reflected here. In The Mandrake, Machiavelli artfully confuses the boundaries of what most consider to be opposites: good and bad, virtue and vice, man and woman. 

Many refer to Machiavelli as manipulative and even evil, while others argue that he was a pragmatist who describes the world as it is, not as it should be. Spectators will be invited to consider various interpretations as they are entertained by Shawn’s 1977 translation.

Performances begin at 8 pm November 14–16 and at 2 pm on November 17. Tickets are $5 for general admission and $3 for students and senior citizens. For reservations, contact the box office at or 413-538-2406.