Staged and designed by David R. Gammons, the piece tells "the true story of the beautiful, impetuous Giovanna d'Aragona who, widowed at 19, secretly marries the business manager of her estate, Antonio Bologna. For the Duchess, whose family had been kings of Naples and northern Spain, to marry her servant without the knowledge and consent of her family is to besmirch the family honor and to challenge the control of her powerful brothers. When a servant reveals the marriage, the brothers concoct a deadly revenge. Over this melodramatic story, which includes a poisoned Bible and a group of dancing madmen, Webster weaves glittering poetry, creating an unforgettable world that seems modern in its combination of beauty and decadence, noble suffering and psychological cruelty."
Associate Artistic Director Jennie Israel takes on the title role of the doomed Duchess. Also featured are resident company members Jason Bowen as her husband Antonio, Marya Lowry as Cariola and Julia, Michael Forden Walker as her possessive, unstable twin brother Ferdinand, Bill Barclay as Bosola and Joel Colodner as the unscrupulous Cardinal. James Patrick Nelson, Karl Baker Olson and David Rosenblatt complete the cast.
The creative team consists of Jeff Adelberg (lighting), Anna-Alisa Belous (costumes) and Cameron Willard (composer/sound design).
The Duchess of Malfi performs at Midway Studios, 15 Channel Center Street (formally Midway St.) in Boston, MA.
Here is a look at the production, which opened Jan. 10 and runs through Feb. 1:
Actors' Shakespeare Project Presents Boston Premiere of The Duchess of Malfi
Tickets, priced $25-$47, may be purchased by visiting www.actorsshakespeareproject.org or calling (866) 811-4111.