Jan 08 2014

so who’s this John Webster guy anyway?

Published by at 3:43 am under Uncategorized

We made a big announcement today. We have begun fundraising for our upcoming production of John Webster’s play The Duchess of Malfi.

Uranium Madhouse Presents The Duchess of Malfi – project teaser from Andrew Utter on Vimeo.

So…John Webster? Who’s John Webster?

Actually, you know.

john webster in shakespeare in love

If you that looks familiar, but you can’t quite place it, you can watch the clip here, although you might have to put up with some pretty annoying advertising.

Better fortune, boy.I was in a play.They cut my head off in Titus Andronicus.When I write plays, they’ll be like Titus.You admire it.I liked it when they cut heads off,and the daughter mutilated with knives.What’s your name?John Webster.Here, kitty, kitty.Plenty of blood.That’s the only writing.I have to get back.See, where he comes. So please you step aside.

THAT’S John Webster. The one feeding the mice to the cat.

And… the part about plenty of blood is no lie.

But it’s also a caricature of what Webster is all about:

But as this article from an Oxford University website points out:

Although Webster’s plays include adultery, murder, treachery, and political machinations, he doesn’t write that way just for the shock value. His plays reveal real, albeit unpleasant, truths about people: he brings out issues of class divide, the nature of justice, love and lust, the role of religion, political obligation, sibling relations, and immorality in the courts. Webster creates characters that both are and are not sympathetic, complex in a manner not unlike real human beings. All the while he masterfully crafts the play’s structure to prolong suspense.

And I think he had a thing or two to say about the anguish of being and facing death as the ultimate test of character. Or as TS Eliot put it:

Webster was much possessed of death/
He saw the skull beneath the skin

Anyway, I hope you’ll join us for the show, which is planned for May, and if you’d consider donating to support our effort, we would be most grateful.

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