May 27th, 2014


The Duchess At The Wanamaker

I was watching a recording of The Duchess of Malfi from the Globe's new indoor theatre last night. I only got to just over the half way mark because the computer kept stopping and starting (blame the internet connection) and then it was bedtime, but I saw enough to be able to imagine the rest. Candlelight is the loveliest of artificial lights.  How Shakespeare must have loved it- towards the end of his career- when he got to work in a theatre with a roof- and things became possible that had never been possible before.  Webster has a scene where the lights go down completely and something horrific happens in the dark. That must have been electrifying first time round.

I was taught The Duchess at 6th form level by an English teacher who loved it- and passed his love on.  When we read it in class I played Ferdinand to his Bosola.  Webster is our greatest dramatic poet after Shakespeare and there are scenes in the Duchess where he's operating at the older man's level.

Strangling is a very quiet death.