The Duchess of Malfi is a Jacobean tragedy by John Webster. It is considered to be one of the best plays of the era and an excellent example of the extreme violence from the literary time. It is also written in the same style of verse that Shakespeare uses. The action starts immediately with a full on brawl. In the intimate setting of the Trap Door Theatre, which holds only about 40 seats, the action is right in your face. Blood flies across the stage and into the audience. Everyone grips their seat and prepares for a wild ride.
The performance is also very sexual. The Cardinal and his mistress have a very graphic encounter. In addition, the Duchess seduces her future husband in a manner no man could resist. Because he is of a lower class, they marry secretly. Her brothers would surely not approve. Somehow, she is able to bear three children before they find out. Her brother becomes enraged and they are forced to escape town. The action continues to build with more bloodshed and sex to a fascinating conclusion.
Witness the intensity of The Duchess of Malfi at Trap Door Theatre now through February 20th.