VENICE PRESERV'D or A Plot Discovered
Written by Thomas Otway
Directed by Peter Gill
Ian McKellen in the role of Pierre
12 April 1984
Words from Ian McKellen
Thomas Otway's play is sporadically revived on British stages. I wish I had been old enough to catch John Gielgud and Paul Scofield as Pierre and Javier in the 1950's.
For the National Theatre's production, apart from, as usual, reading and re-reading the text, I did no preparative research and depended on Peter Gill's rehearsals to clarify the historical background to the play, which we set in its original period.
There is one farcical scene in the play involving a Senator and his mistress, but for the most part the story of rebellion and betrayal is highly-charged political drama. It thrills audiences still, because so few of them are familiar with the twists and turns of its exciting plot.