Divine Rivalry premiering at The Old Globe reveals a duel of the masters


By Diana Saenger

Competitions among rivals are nothing new. Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci faced-off in a painting match back in the 16th century as Old Globe playgoers will learn at the West Coast premiere of “Divine Rivalry,” by Michael Kramer with D. S. Moynihan, and directed by Michael Wilson.

The play is based on a real-life event between the famous artists and Niccolò Machiavelli, the Italian diplomat, historian and political theorist who wrote “The Prince,” and who orchestrated the competition.

But there’s more to the contest than a rivalry between the artists. As the chancellor of Florence, Machiavelli has a political agenda in mind. Seeing how much Michelangelo’s statue of David, inspires people, and worried about invasions of his precious Florence, Machiavelli hypes the competition to draw crowds in the hope they will be compelled to protect the state.

The cast stars Miles Anderson, Euan Morton, and David Selby.

The Renaissance-era costumes by David C. Woolard should be a treat. Also intriguing will be the visual effects on a stage screen (like The David) that will set the atmosphere. Patrons should come away from the show with a hint of the egos of Michelangelo – a very religious man, and Leonardo da Vinci – a man of reason.