Archive for the 'Uncategorized' Category

Feb 12 2015

Cold Sweat gets a set designer

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Thrilled to announce that Yee Eun Nam, who designed props for our production of The Duchess of Malfi, will be designing the set for Cold Sweat. Yee Eun Nam was born and raised in South Korea and moved to LA in 2011. She recently received an MFA in scenic and projection design from the School […]

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Feb 02 2015

family struggles with right-to-die questions

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This NPR story about a Chicago family wrestling with the moral and legal questions regarding the hard decisions they will face should the father’s pain become chronically excruciating shows just how powerfully topical Cold Sweat is. (Cold Sweat is the play we are producing this spring. More on that soon!)

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May 18 2014

The Duchess and Early Modern Playhouses

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The King’s Men first performed The Duchess of Malfi at the Blackfriars Theatre, their indoor theatre. The company acquired the theatre, located in the former Blackfriars priory, in 1608, and it became their winter home. A higher admission price meant a higher class of clientele, and gentlemen would come to seventeenth-century indoor theatres to see […]

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May 05 2014

Commendatory Verses

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In early modern literary culture, poets would write “commendatory verses” for their peers, short poems of praise in honor of a new publication. The first edition of The Duchess of Malfi appeared with poems written by several of the other noteworthy playwrights of the London stage. John Ford and William Rowley contributed, but Thomas Middleton […]

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Apr 22 2014

Whispers of Immortality

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I figured I’d let T.S. Eliot write a post. As a literary critic, the man was largely responsible for renewing interest in all of the Renaissance writers (other than Shakespeare) that I study.  But his most eloquent, and most quoted, study of John Webster opens the poem “Whispers of Immortality”: Webster was much possessed by […]

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Apr 17 2014

Duchess Revivals

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BOSOLA. What would I do, were this to do again? (4.2.26) The Duchess of Malfi was an instant hit with London audiences. The King’s Men (Shakespeare’s theatre company) debuted the play at their indoor theatre, the Blackfriars. The play quickly became part of their stock, frequently revived both at Blackfriars and at the Globe. The […]

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Apr 08 2014

John Webster (c. 1580 – c. 1634)

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John Webster, the dramatist, was born to John Webster, the London coach and wagon maker, at a time when the coach industry was rapidly expanding. The industry being too new to have its own guild, John Webster Sr. joined the Merchant Taylor’s Guild and became one of its most prominent members. As a member, he […]

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Apr 02 2014

Mandrakes and Madness

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FERDINAND. I have this night digged up a mandrake. CARDINAL.                                                                       Say you? FERDINAND. And I am grown mad with’t. (2.5.1-2)   DUCHESS.                               Come, violent death – Serve for mandragora to make me sleep. (4.2.226-27) Practical advice for when you find yourself by a gallows in the dead of night with a yen to […]

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Mar 26 2014

Renaissance Drama and Lusty Widows

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As everybody knows, widows are dangerously licentious creatures. Having once been exposed to “the marital act,” their blood runs hot in their veins as a constant inclination towards promiscuity overwhelms them… Okay, maybe “everybody” doesn’t know that, but a large percentage of Renaissance Europe did. The “lusty widow,” a stock character in English Renaissance drama, […]

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Mar 17 2014

The Duchess of Malfi: A real-life, historical soap opera

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Once upon a time (1490), in a land far away (Amalfi, Italy), a young princess (only twelve years old!) married the heir apparent to the dukedom of Amalfi, Alfonso Piccolomini. Piccolomini, by then the duke, succumbed to gout in 1498, leaving behind his young widow, Giovanna d’Aragona, and an unborn son, their young daughter having […]

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