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Skip to 0 minutes and 14 seconds So here I am at Penshurst Place talking to Charlie Mulliner, who is playing the role of Venus in the play. Charlie, the role of Venus is a dominant figure in the play. And Wroth has decided to set it in a Classical world rather than a Christian one. Why do you think she’s chosen Venus as the dominant figure in the play? From what I understand of Mary Wroth’s private life, she was very much driven by her love for her cousin. And in fact, this play was something of a kind of match making event, I think. And so I feel like Venus for her celebrates what life is about.

Skip to 0 minutes and 49 seconds It’s about love and about it conquering the more kind of prosaic, everyday things that she was up against. And she had an arranged marriage herself. So I think there’s that fact. But I think also, just as a dramatic person, Venus is by far the funnest of the gods.

Skip to 1 minute and 11 seconds The role of Venus interacts an awful lot with the character of Cupid. How do you think that relationship develops through the play? Yes, so Cupid is her son. And at the beginning, there’s a very clear sense of hierarchy. She beckons him. She informs him what he’s going to do. She gives the orders. And he accepts them. And it’s very clear that she is the matriarch and he is her junior. But then as the play continues, there’s like an element of tension already there, that she gives these orders and she just needs him to take them. But obviously he’s the one with the arrows. He’s the one with the power down in the world, the active power.

Skip to 1 minute and 51 seconds She has this emanating source sort of thing. But he is the one who does it. And we learn from the very first speech that he has actually hit her with an arrow before, and she has been wounded by that. So even though she sort of acts as if she is clearly his superior, there’s this element that we get right from the beginning that he is actually– there’s a little bit of a tension there– he as her son has the ability to hurt her.

Watch an interview with actress Charlie Mulliner

Watch this interview with actress Charlie Mulliner who played the role of Venus in the 2018 production of Love’s Victory at Penshurst Place.

  • How does the role link to Lady Mary Wroth’s real-life experience as author of the play?
  • What do you find out about the relationship between Venus and Cupid?

Post a comment with your response.

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Penshurst Place and the Sidney Family of Writers

Lancaster University