- The Duchess of Malfi 2:37:08
- Act 1 Scene 1 0:28:25
- Act 2 Scene 1 0:08:25
- Act 2 Scene 2 0:03:19
- Act 2 Scene 3 0:04:31
- Act 2 Scene 4 0:05:19
- Act 2 Scene 5 0:04:00
- Act 3 Scene 1 0:05:17
- Act 3 Scene 2 0:19:47
- Act 3 Scene 3 0:03:07
- Act 3 Scene 4 0:01:04
- Act 3 Scene 5 0:10:18
- Act 4 Scene 1 0:29:50
- Act 5 Scene 1 0:03:28
- Act 5 Scene 2 0:14:10
- Act 5 Scene 3 0:03:06
- Act 5 Scene 4 0:04:22
- Act 5 Scene 5 0:07:19
- Elizabeth Freestone - Director 0:10:46
- Neil Irish – Set and Costume Designer & Sades Robinson – Costume supervisor 0:05:52
- Wayne Dowdeswell – Lighting Designer 0:06:57
- Adrienne Quartly – Sound Designer/Composer 0:05:01
- Jon Swain – Company Stage Manager 0:06:16
- Eleanor Bailey – Assistant Stage Manager & Ben Brayshaw – Deputy Stage Manager 0:05:22
- Aislin McGuckin – Duchess of Malfi 0:07:37
- Edmund Kingsley – Antonio 0:05:13
- Tim Treloar – Bosola 0:04:59
- Tim Steel – Ferdinand 0:06:37
- Mark Hadfield – Cardinal 0:09:54
- Maxwell Hutcheon – Pescaral/Second officer 0:02:36
- Richard Bremmer – Castruceio/Malateste 0:02:21
The Duchess of Malfi is a popular choice as a set text, despite (or perhaps because of) the violence and horror of its later scenes. Generally considered to be the masterpiece of Jacobean playwright John Webster, it was first produced in around 1613. It’s a macabre tragedy, based on actual events, and tends to be either loved or hated by critics – while consistently captivating audiences across the centuries.
Set in Italy in the early fifteenth century, it starts out as a love story, with the Duchess marrying beneath her class. However, her two brothers, one cool and corrupt, the other secretly violent and warped, have other ideas. With incredible plot twists along the way, the play ends as an utter tragedy, as the brothers take revenge on her, destroying themselves in the process.
Dark, complex…and feminist?
The main themes of The Duchess of Malfi include revenge and corruption. It also looks at the status of women in society - Webster’s use of a strong, virtuous woman as the central character was rare for the time.
The play was originally written for and performed by The King’s Men, the same company which Shakespeare belonged to. Indeed, this Jacobean classic makes an interesting text to study in comparison to many of Shakespeare’s works.
The language is poetic, and subtle at times, but infinitely rewarding. Its complex characters are also rewarding to watch, as the play develops towards the highly dramatic climax.
Director: Elizabeth Freestone.
Featuring: Peter Bankolé, Edmund Kingsley, Tim Treloar, Mark Hadfield, Tim Steed, Richard Bremmer, Conrad Westmaas, James Wallace, Aislín McGuckin, Harvey Virdi, Brigid Zengeni, Maxwell Hutcheon.