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Laboratory Theater Performs “Botticelli in the Fire”

Laboratory Theater of Florida

The Laboratory Theater of Florida in Fort Myers continues its 12th season later this month with the regional premiere of playwright Jordan Tannahill’s award-winning play “Botticelli in the Fire.” The play is an historic re-imagining centered on the life of early Renaissance Italian painter Sandro Botticelli.

According to some historians, in his later years, Botticelli became a follower of the zealous reformer and Dominican Fria Girolamo Savonarola, and thus participated in the 1497 bonfire of the vanities during which objects that might tempt one to sin, like nude paintings, cosmetics, fine clothing, musical instruments and even mirrors were set ablaze. Botticelli is said to have thrown some of his own paintings into the fire.

Tannahill’s play posits an alternative motivation for why Botticelli may have destroyed his own work: As an act of survival for a gay man living in Florence at a time when identifying as homosexual was anything but safe, particularly with a plague raging on and the sodomites being blamed for it.

The play touches on universally relatable themes of love, sex, questioning the status quo and surviving a particularly turbulent political moment during a pandemic, which makes it even more cogent for audiences today than when the play first premiered in 2016.

Tannahill’s writing provokes us to think about ways in which his story resonates with our current moment. We’ll take a closer look with director and Laboratory Theater founding Artistic Director Annette Trossbach.

Performance Schedule:

Feb. 26 and 27 at 8:00 p.m.

Feb. 27 and 28 at 2:00 p.m.

March 4, 5, 6, 11, 12 and 13 at 8:00 p.m.

March 6, 7, 13 and 14 at 2:00 p.m.

For tickets call the box office at 239-218-0481 or visit www.laboratorytheaterflorida.com

Due to adult language, nudity, sexual situations and mature themes, no one under 18 years old will be admitted.

John Davis has been a full-time Reporter/Producer for WGCU since 2009. He is the local host for NPR’s Morning Edition and producer and host for WGCU’s radio talk program Gulf Coast Live! John came to WGCU as an intern in 2007, and is now reporting on a broad spectrum of topics of interest to Southwest Florida. Prior to joining WGCU, he worked at WDUQ-FM in Pittsburgh, PA covering local government and general assignments.John studied journalism at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, before earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication from Florida Gulf Coast University. His work has garnered awards from the Press Club of Western Pennsylvania, the Radio Television Digital News Association, and a first place award and “Best in Show” from the Florida Associated Press for his investigative work in 2011.