The Duchess of Malfi - Hurstpierpoint College

The Duchess of Malfi

Nineteen English Literature students from the Sixth Form travelled up to The Almeida theatre in Islington to watch Rebecca Frecknall’s sell-out production The Duchess of Malfi, one of their set texts.

The production has received great reviews, with one critic referring to it as ‘woke’. The set design, with a white-tiled, glass-walled room at the back of the stage, served to emphasise the secrecy and deception at the heart of the play, with characters moving between two parts of the stage in a visual representation of their public and private lives and behaviours. Frecknall also chose to reinterpret the play from a feminist perspective, with the Duchess’ heir being played by a little girl, rather than a boy, and through a striking tableau of the three murdered women – the Duchess, Cariola, her maid and Julia, the Cardinal’s mistress – observing the actions of the men who killed them, in the closing scenes of the play.

It was a fantastic opportunity for our students to watch a fresh, modern production of a text they know very well and will be writing about in their final examinations Rebecca Daville, Teacher of English