Tamburlaine-Shadow of God
by John Fletcher

16 Nov 08, R3, 90m. John Fletcher's play imagines that the paths of three important figures from Middle-Eastern history crossed: Tamburlaine, Ibn Khaldun (historian) and Hafez (poet). Tamburlaine is sending out soldiers to neighbouring countries, promising them perpetual war and riches, building Samarkand and an empire which he wants to last a thousand years. This is not how lasting empires are usually built.

Stars John Rowe as Khaldun, Jeffery Kissoon as Tamburlaine, Conleth Hill as Hafez. Producer Marc Beeby.

Note from John Fletcher:.........this play about Tamburlaine, the world’s greatest mass murderer after Genghis Khan, dwells upon his butchery but also his exquisite aesthetic and intellectual tastes – as he ransacks the world to build his beloved Samarkhand.

Based on historical fact, the play deals with Tamburlaine's genuine intellectual and aesthetic engagement with Ibn Khaldun, the father of modern history, sociology, and economics, and Hafez, the great Persian poet and Sufi mystic.

At a time in the contemporary world of great social, economic, and political instability and fear, this play fiercely debates the reasons why societies collapse, and what qualities and belief systems and circumstances are needed to build them up again and for them then to endure.


    Jim's Notes follow.......

    BBC Radio 3: Drama on 3

    Broadcast: Sunday 16th November 2008 @ 8:00 p.m.

    As war swirls around them, three important figures in the history of the Middle and Near East are brought together in fierce debate: how can a successful society be built, and what does it need to do to endure?

    "Tamburlaine" is based on the last years of the 14th-century conqueror's life, as it draws together three of the most important figures in the history of the Middle and Near East – Tamburlaine, the Islamic tyrant and conqueror who ravaged the middle and far east, and two of his contemporaries: Ibn Khaldun, the world's first sociologist, and Hafez, the great Sufi mystic and poet.

    "Tambulaine: Shadow of God" is a blood-soaked history and a serious debate, exploring three very different views of the philosophy on which a successful society should be built, and the values it needs to espouse in order to endure.

    With John Rowe [Ibn Khaldun], Jeffery Kissoon [Tambulaine], Conleth Hill [Hafez], Jonathan Tafler [Mulk], Inam Mirza [Jahongir], Stephen Critchlow [Hosni, the Torturer], Dan Starkey [The Vizier], and Donnla Hughes [Hafez's Wife].

    Other parts were played by Gunnar Cauthery, Robert Lonsdale, and Chris Pavlo.

    Directed by Marc Beeby.

    90 min.


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