‘The Duchess of Malfi’: The price of pleasure

Dulaang UP stages first major Philippine production of classic macabre drama

THE DUCHESS. Where will the pursuit of pleasure take her?

MANILA, Philippines – What does a 17th-century tragedy tell us about our present-day troubles?

Perhaps it reminds us that a man in a cassock isn’t always innocent. Or that blood isn’t always thicker than water.

Or maybe it simply poses a challenge: how far will you go for pleasure?

Quell your own rhetorical qualms by catching a performance of Dulaang UP’s “The Duchess of Malfi/Ang Dukesa ng Malfi,” starting this September.

Envy, incest, death

The tragedy plays out the tale of a recently widowed duchess as she decides to go against her scheming brothers by secretly marrying her personal steward.

The discovery of her deception engulfs everyone in a tumultuous and maddening whirlpool of envy, incest, greed, destruction, and death.

John Webster’s play was first staged in 1613. As tragedies go, “Malfi” had been praised and derided in equal measure for its rampant character, antedating by centuries the sex and violence we lament in today’s mass media.

Yet it still ranks as a masterpiece alongside Shakespeare.

Dulaang UP also has a Filipino-language production, “Ang Dukesa ng Malfi,” translated by Palanca awardee Allan Palileo.

The play is directed by DUP Founding Artistic Director Tony Mabesa, who is also a widely respected character actor in Philippine cinema, often appearing in striking cameos as an RTC judge, a lawyer, or a corporate executive.

Others in this distinguished production include Obie awardee Clint Ramos for stage design, Eric Pineda for costumes, Peter Alcedo for choreography, Meliton Roxas Jr. for lights, and Jethro Joaquin for scoring.

Now back to the question of how far one can go to seek pleasure.

For the duchess, the answer is quite simple. Inflamed by passion, she will go to great lengths. She is ready to defy society’s conventions to pursue her desire. She will act seemingly foolish, gunning for the ultimate reward that is love.

Everything is at stake for her. What about you? – Rappler.com

 

‘The Duchess of Malfi/Ang Dukesa ng Malfi’ runs September 11- 29 at the Wilfrido Ma. Guerrero Theater, Palma Hall, UP Diliman. For sponsorship and ticket inquiries, contact the Dulaang UP Office at 926-1349, 981-8500 local 2449 or 433-7840 and look for Ms. Camille Guevarra or Ms. Samanta Clarin.