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,
For a world turned upside down as 2018, Director Charlene V. Smith has crafted a riveting, provocative, explosive Coriolanus. “Are we even capable of not harming ourselves?” she asks in the director’s notes, echoing Tori Boutin as citizen of Rome: “We willingly consented to his banishment, yet it was against our will.”
Smith’s Rome is not a pinnacle of civilization. It’s violent and dirty, its citizens easily provoked to engage every whim.
The natural orders are ours to make. Gender is a sphere. Women are women regardless of what kind of women they are. Does it make you a bad feminist or a bad woman if your version of feminism and supporting women is not the same as someone from a different generation, from a different race, from a different background, from a different socio-economic standpoint? The Trojan Women Project, devised by Rachel Hynes and the ensemble,
Now is a time to speak, I harken! Can my heart consent to let my tongue throw out such words? Such words as Jacobean Comedy? Quizzically oxymoronic in its nature, the notion that something humorous came out of the era of brutal bloody tragedies often circling like flagrant vultures around things like depravity and incest is preposterous. Until you see A King and No King, appearing now as the lighter half of The Incest Rep at Brave Spirits Theatre.
Let’s face it: Parma is a nasty, nasty place. It’s got people cheating on their spouses, and plots of revenge, even before it gets all incesty. Which, of course, it does, this being part of Brave Spirits’ Incest Rep, along with A King and No King, by Beaumont and Fletcher. Those Jacobeans liked their plays dark, and that’s perfect to help Brave Spirits’ pledge of “Verse and Violence”.
The most available bachelorette in Parma is the beautiful Annabella,