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Play Reading: The Royal Hunt of the Sun by Peter Shaffer

The play begins in Spain, where Pizarro recruits 167 men for an expedition to Peru. He is accompanied by his second-in-command Hernando de Soto, and Vincente de Valverde, a Catholic priest determined to spread the shining light of Christianity. It is narrated or commented upon by Old Martin, a jaded man in his mid-fifties. Young Martin - another character in the play - is his younger counterpart, integrated with the time-frame in which the expedition commences. At the beginning of the voyage he is obsessed with chivalry, glory and honour, but becomes increasingly disillusioned throughout, as Pizarro's crisis of faith also unravels.

The Spanish invade Peru, hungry for gold. After many weeks, they climb a mountain to reach the abode of Atahualpa, the king of Incas and also the son of the Sun god. The Spaniards massacre 3,000 Incas and take Atahualpa captive. Instead of killing him, Pizarro makes a deal with Atahualpa whereby, if he fills an entire room with objects made from gold in two months, Atahualpa will be set free and will not harm Pizarro. As the room fills up, Pizarro and Atahualpa become increasingly close. Pizarro, who suffers constant pain from an old wound, has a crisis of faith. He reveals to Martin that he used to dream of the Sun God as a child. When the room is finally filled, Pizarro asks Atahualpa to swear to leave his men unharmed, but the king refuses. The Spaniards urge Pizarro to have Atahualpa executed, and the beginnings of a mutiny against Pizarro stir. Atahualpa tells Pizarro to allow his men to kill him, because, as the son of the Sun, he will revive the morning after anybody kills him. Pizarro agrees to do this, and is inducted into the Incan religion by Atahualpa personally. Atahualpa is decreed to burn at the stake, and Pizarro has this changed to strangling (since Atahualpa's body is required intact for the rebirth to work) if Atahualpa agrees to be baptised. He does so, and is strangled. Pizarro waits until dawn with the body, but it does not re-awake, leading him to hold the body and weep while Old Martin narrates the end of the story. (Wikipedia)

Reading will be held in Matt's loungeroom on Ijburg. Please send an email to for more information. You do not need to be an InPlayers member to attend a play reading and there is no charge. Please bring yourself something to drink and some snacks to share.