Fell a little bit in love with Fiona Shaw's character Galactia on Friday night. OK so she's sharp and honest to the point of tactlessness at times but I admired her intelligence, unwavering and brave (some might say foolish) determinism and her freedom of spirit and physical being.
She's not to everyone's taste and neither is the play - two friends left at the interval - but I was rather taken. Galactia is an artist in renaissance Venice commissioned by the Doge (Tim McInnerny) to paint a depiction of the Battle of Lepanto in which the Venetians were victorious against the Turks but at great cost to life on both sides.
What the Doge has in mind is something that shows the glory of victory but Galactia, in the course of researching the battle, wants to present it as it was: a carnage that turned the sea red with spilt blood and gore and left hideous wounds.
Her undeniable artistic talent versus her unconventional life - her lover, the needy Carpeta (Jamie Ballard) is a less talented artist, married and younger - causes a lot of angst for her benefactor. His position is political and backing the wrong art, so to speak, could be damaging for his career.