The Duchess of Padua

The Duchess of Padua

Written by Oscar Wilde

Reading by Studio Theater

Directed by B. Marshall

Strange advice from a mysterious stranger strips young Guido Feranti of his only friend and thrusts him into the court of the vile Duke of Padua. Waiting for the cue to slay his father’s slayer, he falls madly in love with the abused and despised Duchess. That is, until he comes to despise her and she to love him. Oh, wait, now she despises him, he despises her, they love each other, they don’t… it’s opera without arias. Someone knifes Duke slimeball, and Guido and the Duchess now take turns confessing and not confessing and dying and not dying. At long last, they agree, love one another, AND die, so this counts as a tragedy.

Long on words and short on wit, this is Wilde’s second play, and by far the longest. Judicious cuts by director Marshall help the ears and behinds of the modern audience. Occasional bits of Wildean epigram float to the surface, but get dragged back down by Elizabethan pretense. Weak as theater to today’s sensibilities, Duchess is really a work for the scholar attempting to understand Wilde’s evolution as a dramatist and attempt to find his voice as a playwright. With austere staging, the reading was well-presented by 6 somber players dressed completely in the black livery of the arts. Sitting motionless and stony when not emoting lines, each pops to life on cue, and lovingly creates the character at hand. Despite the difficulty of the material, this turned into an enjoyable view of this dusty corner of modern literature.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Recently on Ink 19...

  • Four-Letter Words
    Four-Letter Words

    No need to worry about offending delicate sensibilities with this playlist. We’re not talking about profanity, so just take the title at face value.

  • A Genesis In My Bed
    A Genesis In My Bed

    Former Genesis guitarist, Steve Hackett shares his life story in his story in an engaging and honest memoir. Reading his story feels like hanging out with a friend who’s interested in sharing how he felt living these experiences.

  • The Jayhawks
    The Jayhawks

    XOXO (Sham/Thirty Tigers). Review by Jeremy Glazier.

  • 18 to Party
    18 to Party

    When you’re in 8th grade, sneaking into a bar is way cooler than it is when you’re 40.

  • Adam

    A pregnant woman finds a home in Casablanca.

  • 2020 on Fire
    2020 on Fire

    Sound Salvation takes on current events with a playlist addressing the current fight for racial and social justice in America and the battles playing out in the streets in the aftermath of the death of George Floyd.

  • Pokey Lafarge
    Pokey Lafarge

    Rock Bottom Rhapsody (New West Records). Review by Jeremy Glazier.

  • Landfall

    Cecilia Aldarondo takes a look at Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria.

  • Daniel Silva
    Daniel Silva

    Drummer Daniel Silva talks influences and more with Stacey Zering.

  • Bill Kirchen
    Bill Kirchen

    The Proper Years (Last Music Co.). Review by James Mann.

From the Archives