by Ron Elisha

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by Ron Elisha

The year is 1515, and the great Leonardo da Vinci sits vigil by the bedside of one Vincenzo di Scarpa, a former merchant, who hovers on the edge of death as he approaches his hundredth birthday. Biding his time for the old man’s body, Leonardo daily visits his bedside, where he encounters Beatrice, Vincenzo’s young wife and the most exquisite Madonna the great artist has ever laid eyes on.

Over the days that follow, Leonardo plays a delicate game between the two, convincing Vincenzo that he (Leonardo) is the devil, to whom the old man must answer for the sins of a lifetime if he wishes to avoid the knife, whilst at the same time slowly seducing Beatrice into becoming his model. All seems to be proceeding to plan until the local priest, Padre Rodolfo, makes his appearance. The arch-enemy of everything for which Leonardo stands, Rodolfo is determined to bring Leonardo to justice on a charge of necromancy, the latter carrying a possible death sentence. At the same time Vincenzo, in an attempt to cheat the devil, closes a deal with Rodolfo which will have dire consequences for Beatrice.

In the end, the force of Leonardo’s intellect and the power of his will to enlightenment transform the lives of each of those around him in ways that are strange, wonderful and unpredictable. So much so, in fact, that each - in a very real sense - has undergone a kind of rebirth, a renaissance.

With a lightness of touch that is both beguiling and compelling, 'Renaissance' is a celebration of the power of mind in the never-ending rearguard action being fought against human ignorance. In the course of this action, one of the world’s great mysteries is solved.

Winner of the 2006 Mitch Matthews Award (Parnassus' Den Best New Script)

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