Elizabeth Scripturient (the delinquent, ecumenical (hermionesviolin) wrote,
Elizabeth Scripturient (the delinquent, ecumenical

[ASP] "The Duchess of Malfi" (John Webster) [2008-01-10]

Opening Weekend (January 8 - February 1) of John Webster's The Duchess of Malfi at ASP.

Some months ago, Cate's coworker Kate was talking about something and said, "When's the last time anyone did a production of The Duchess of Malfi?"  To which Cate replied, "Well..."

It's ASP's first non-Shakespeare production, and I hope they make a habit of having one non-Shakespeare show each season, 'cause no one does Jonson or Marlowe or any of that ... plus it allows them to go more seasons before they have to start repeating Shakespeare plays.


I wanna know who was responsible for the like whoa sexual innuendo -- and have coffee with that person.  The first scene with the Cardinal and Julia?  Most risque scene I have ever seen.  I've seen naked people on stage, but there is something different about a man behind a woman who is pressed up against a door limbs splayed) with his hand pulling up her many-layered skirt.  And then later he's seated and spreads his legs (nice black crocodile pumps and patterned stockings, man -- though Julia's red stilletos with like six-inch gold heels were the best shoes in the whole production).  And his scene with Bosola, when he spreads his legs, and Julia comes in and he says, "I'm busy."  OMG.

Gotta love "Enter Julia with a pistol."  And *cough* premature ejaculation.

I loved Bosola's deadpan of "Why are you doing this?" to Ferdinand.  Also great look on his face when Ferdinand is asking him why he (Bosola) killed the Duchess.

When Bosola accidentally killed Antonio, I commented, "He's clearly never seen Hamlet," so I enjoyed his comment that this was something like he had seen in plays.

Ferdinand's midnight meeting with the Duchess, when he started talking about the ring, I thought it was Antonio's ring, but even when she made the cold comment I did not at all suspect that it would be Antonio's hand (or a wax facsimile thereof).


They did neat stuff with color (all the costumes were white, black, and red -- and combinations thereof -- but it didn't feel forced gimmicky) and so forth -- the From the Director page in the program was "A Page from the C's in The Duchess of Malfi Glossary," which included:
Corridors & Cracks: Our production takes place in what amounts to a long, narrow corridor: an interstitial space that connects other rooms. The characters are suspended in a taut, spatially tense environment that heightens and attenuates their predicaments. The doors at either end serve to hold back the impending disaster from flooding this narrow channel, but not forever. In our world, someone is always either hiding or spying. There is always someone---friend or foe---just on the other side of that door, heart pounding, breath held, watching through the crack to witness what unfolds within. Indeed, the perfect white world threatens to crack itself in two, exposing the molten emotional lava that bubbles just below the surface.
That doesn't mention that underneath the stage were clutches of bones and skulls :)
Tags: plays: asp, plays: attended, plays: boston area

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