Dulaang UP mounts John Webster’s opus ‘The Duchess of Malfi’

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Liza Diño. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—This September, Dulaang UP stages one of world theater’s greatest tragedy, John Webster’s “The Duchess of Malfi”. The production also features “Ang Dukesa ng Malfi”, the Filipino translation of Palanca-winning writer Allan Palileo and is adapted and directed by theater veteran, Tony Mabesa.

“The Duchess of Malfi” tells the story of a Duchess who defies her brothers by marrying a man beneath her social class. This defiance spurs her scheming brothers to seek revenge against her and her husband by plotting a series of murders which spiral them all toward a bloody and maddening end.

Issa Litton. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Widely held as Webster’s magnum opus, “The Duchess of Malfi” brings to the stage one of theater’s most fascinating and memorable female protagonists and two of its most ruthless and depraved antagonists. Despite having been first staged 400 years back, the play tackles timely and all-too relevant themes from love to lust, virtue to vice, decadence to hope. Its dark and at times horrifying tale of forbidden love, overpowering greed, and ensuing madness makes one ask himself, “How far could one sink for pleasure?”

The production is backed by the collaboration of some of Philippine theater’s best artists. New York-based Obie Award winner Clint Ramos and Eric Pineda team up for the set and costume design respectively: Choreography by Peter Alcedo, Jr.; lights design by Meliton Roxas, Jr.; and sound design by Jethro Joaquin.

The cast is headlined by some of the biggest names in theater. Banaue Miclat, Liza Diño and Adriana Agcaoili alternate as the defiant Duchess. Richard Cunanan, Neil Ryan Sese, and George de Jesus take turns playing the twisted Bosola. The Duchess’ malevolent twin brother, Ferdinand, is given life by Jacques Borlaza and Allan Palileo. The corrupt Cardinal is played by Menggie Cobarrubias and Brian Tibayan. The production also stars Carlo Tarobal, Dax Alejandro, Issa Litton, Ces Aldaba, and the Dulaang UP ensemble.

“The Duchess of Malfi/Ang Dukesa ng Malfi” runs September 11- 29, 2013 at the Wilfrido Ma. Guerrero Theater, Palma Hall, University of the Philippines Diliman. For sponsorship and ticket inquiries, please contact the Dulaang UP Office at 926-1349, 981-8500 local 2449 or 433-7840 and look for Camille Guevarra or Ms. Samanta Clarin.

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