|The Duchess of Malfi|
By John Webster
Adapted by Hugh Colman and Ailsa Piper
Directed by John Bell
Greed. Incestuous jealousy. An excess of conflicting interests. Bloody deaths.
We all start out innocent in this world, but as we grow and start to climb the ladder that might take us to the top, there's no saying whose fingers we'll step on to get there. Even those of our own flesh and blood.
When the beautiful Duchess of Malfi is widowed in her youth, her two controlling brothers forbid her to remarry for fear they will lose their abundant inheritance. In a desperate attempt to ensure their fortune and place on the throne, the two brothers regulate her whole life - including her body - even hiring their friend to spy on her every move.
The Duchess Of Malfi begins as a love story but ends as a nightmarish family tragedy; greed, jealousy and revenge proving to be a toxic mix in a world not unlike our own.
Shakespeare contemporary John Webster brings us a play about the obsession with power and what it can do to a family.
Bell Shakespeare Artistic Director, John Bell directs his daughter Lucy Bell in only their second collaboration in the Company's 21 year history. John Bell says: "The Duchess Of Malfi is a tense passionate and violent masterpiece of 17th century theatre. Webster's poetry is both visceral and exotic. It shocks our ears with its bluntness and ingenuity."
Award winning Australian writer, director and performer Ailsa Piper (Small Mercies) and writer Hugh Colman have adapted the play into a condensed script that focuses on the main protagonists; an incestuous Judge, an oily Cardinal, a hit-man with a heart and a young heroic Duchess.
This white-hot adaptation of Webster's finest work, captures the madness and astonishing violence brought about by the strength of a woman in a patriarchal society.
6 July - 5 August
Sydney Opera House, Playhouse
Bookings: 02 9250 7777 sydneyoperahouse.com.au