THE DUCHESS OF MALFI

by John Webster

The words: Thed Duchess of Malfi

Tue 2 - Sat 6 April 2019 at 7.30pm
The Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Sheep Street, Northampton NN1 3NL


OPEN AUDITIONS

Friday 18 January at 7.30pm

Burns Street Studios,
9 Burns Street,
Northampton NN1 3QF

Anyone can audition for Masque Theatre productions. If cast, you will be required to become a member of the group.

For more information about this production, contact the director, John Myhill, on 07802 399884

AUDITION PREVIEW: 'One of the greatest tragedies of Renaissance drama'

John Myhill | director

John Webster, a contemporary of Shakespeare, wrote Duchess around 1613, and it was performed at The Globe with actors from Shakespeare’s company, including Burbage and Condell.

The play focuses on the recently widowed Duchess in a period when widows were effectively the only women with power and property in their own right, being otherwise the property (literally) of their fathers, brothers or husbands.

Her own brothers (a cardinal and a duke, i.e. church and state), want to re-assert control over her after the death of her husband and demand that she agrees not to remarry. In the case of the duke there are also suggestions of incestuous desires towards his sister as an ulterior motive.

Instead, she secretly marries her steward Antonio, a capable and kind man who is willing to remain a secret husband and not demand control of her.

Learning of this, her brothers plot their revenge, with the help of Bosola who begins to doubt his calling as a spy and assassin.

Violent and poetical,
The Duchess of Malfi is often cited as one of the greatest tragedies of Renaissance drama.

Auditions will be held on Friday the 18th January 2019, 7:30pm at Burns Street. Audition pieces will be available shortly before then.

Characters

The characters below are in approximate order of most lines (the script is still being edited so these may change, but they give a good indication of the size of each role).

Characters are shown as male or female but in most cases I am willing to consider casting actors of any gender as long as they can play the role convincingly. In some cases I have put a few characters together in a 'package' role'.

  • DUCHESS OF MALFI. c.400 lines (also Echo) – female, the main character, could be played any age from 20 – 40+.
  • DANIEL DE BOSOLA, spy and assassin. c.400 lines, - male, but could be played by a female actor, 20s or 30s
  • FERDINAND, Duke of Calabria, twin brother to the Duchess. c.250 lines – male, similar age to Duchess.
  • ANTONIO BOLOGNA, Steward of the Household to the Duchess. c.250 lines – male, any age from 20-40+
  • CARDINAL, the Duchess’s older brother. c.175 lines – male, 30 – 50+
  • DELIO, friend to Antonio. c.130 lines, male, but could be played by female actor, any age 20 – 40+
  • JULIA, Castruccio's wife, and the Cardinal's mistress. c.100 lines – female, around 20s/30s
  • DOCTOR. c.60 lines (also 1st Pilgrim) – could be female or male, any age
  • MARQUIS OF PESCARA. c.50 lines – male, but could be played by female actor, any age
  • CARIOLA, servant to the Duchess. c.50 lines – female, 20s/30s
  • COUNT MALATESTI. c.30 lines (also 3rd Servant) – male, but could be played by female actor, any age
  • SILVIO, a lord, c.30 lines (also 1st Executioner) – male, but could be played by female actor, any age
  • 'Primus' – plays 1st Servant, 1st Officer, 1st Madman, and 2nd Pilgrim, c.30 lines – predominantly male characters but could be played by female actor, any age.
  • CASTRUCCIO, an old Lord. c.25 lines (also 4th Madman) – male, older character, 60+ playing age
  • Old Lady. c.25 lines (also 4th Servant) – female, older character, 60+ playing age
  • RODERIGO, a lord c.20 lines (also 2nd Executioner, non speaking) – male, but could be played by female actor, any age
  • 'Secundus' – plays 2nd Servant, 2nd Officer, 2nd Madman, c.20 lines, – predominantly male characters but could be played by female actor, any age.
  • 'Tertius' – plays 3rd Officer and 3rd Madman, c.10 lines– could be played by male or female actor, any age.

If necessary some additional doubling up can be done – Rodrigo could double with 'Tertius', Old Lady could double with Doctor/1st Pilgrim, or Doctor/1st Pilgrim could double with 'Secundus' or 'Tertius'.


Masque Theatre's production is directed by John Myhill.
John has also directed the following productions for Masque:
Antony & Cleopatra (2017) and Our Town (2015)