THE STORY: Freely adapted from Matthew Lewis' eighteenth-century gothic novel, The Monk, AMBROSIO, the play, deftly transposes our own contemporary concerns about sexuality, desire and abstinence on to the original novel's voluptuous setting and atmosphere. As the monk Ambrosio confronts temptation, first in the form of a seductive young male novice, and then in a young woman who begs Ambrosio to be her confessor, as a mysterious fisherman named Don Pedro looks on. Is he, as Ambrosio suspects, really the devil, offering up inducements for Ambrosio to renounce his vows? Is this vision of the devil simply a case of delirium brought on by Ambrosio's life of denial? Is either answer part of a plot by the Inquisition to shore up their own power? Ultimately, the crux of Ambrosio's dilemma lies in the realm of spirituality, where what distinguishes fantasy from reality has yet to be decided.
In a vivid departure from the hypnotic and spiritual folk plays that have confirmed Romulus Linney as one of America's premiere playwrights, comes a work about the Spanish Inquisition's reign of terror and religious persecution, and how it led to the death-by-fire of a fanatical sixteenth-century monk whose vows of celibacy could not hold and instead gave way to rape and murder. "With its intelligence and acuity about crises of faith, AMBROSIO is a play that would honor any of our major theaters." óNY Times.