Who, precisely, is the title character in Brave Spirits Theatre’s production of The Changeling, by Thomas Middleton and William Rowley, is left open to interpretation. The text of the play speculates on the question but does not provide a definitive answer. Director Charlene V. Smith takes that tone of ambiguity and plays with it brilliantly in her approach to the script. She takes a late-Renaissance play that features violence, misogyny, and sexual assault as major plot elements,
John Webster is, perhaps, an even better patron saint for Brave Spirits than William Shakespeare: he brings both the verse, and the violence with The Duchess of Malfi. Katie Culligan brings the Duchess’ power from her first silent moments on stage. She is strong and self-possessed, charming and beautiful, grounded and passionate. Her performance is closely nuanced at every moment.
The villain of the piece is Ferdinand, her brother,