CSULB Theatre Arts Department Presents The Duchess of Malfi

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California State University Long Beach (CSULB) Theatre Arts Department presents The Duchess of Malfi by John Webster playing December 2 to December 11 in the Studio Theatre on the campus of CSULB. The Duchess of Malfi, a macabre Jacobean play first performed in 1613, is directed by internationally-renowned Shakespeare teacher and director Rob Clare.

Set against the backdrop of a raw and exposed land, this production shares the bloody and evocative story of a widowed Duchess who is left in a prominent political position with great wealth after the death of her husband. When the Duchess and Antonio, a man in her service, confess their love for one another they are secretly married. Discovering their sister’s betrayal, the Duchess’s brothers are driven mad by greed and will stop at nothing to control their sister’s power, leading to mutual destruction. Director Rob Clare says, “The Duchess of Malfi speaks to us across the years in the way that great plays do. It is not a museum piece, it’s a piece that takes humanity and pares it back to the bone and we are left to view the dissection.”

Rob Clare was an actor with the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC), then a Staff Director at the UK National Theatre and Associate Artistic Director of the major UK touring company, Compass. Becoming increasingly interested in differing approaches to working with Shakespearean verse, he completed a doctorate in the subject at Oxford University, and has since become an internationally-recognized Shakespeare specialist. He established the MA Classical Acting course at London’s Central School of Speech and Drama, which he also led for its first three years. Recent freelance credits as teacher and/or director include the Royal Shakespeare Company, Steppenwolf, NYU Tisch School of the Arts, Yale, Juilliard, Brown and University of Southern California.

“[Shakespeare] isn’t our history, it is our now, in the way great composers are too…John Webster’s The Duchess of Malfi stands in comparison with some of Shakespeare’s work, and for that reason I think it is worth seeing and worth sharing,” says director, Clare, regarding the importance of Shakespeare and other classical work today.

The Duchess of Malfi opens Friday, December 2 and closes on Sunday, December 11, with a preview performance on Thursday, December 1. Performances run Tuesday through Saturday at 8pm with matinee performances on Saturday, December 3; Saturday, December 10; and Sunday, December 11 at 2 pm. This production is presented in the Studio Theatre, inside the Theatre Arts Building, on the southeast corner of the CSULB campus, accessible via East Campus Drive. Tickets are $17 for general admission and $14 for seniors, students, and CSULB faculty and staff (with valid ID). Parking is available for $7 in CSULB Parking Lot 7, next to the theatre. For tickets and information, please call (562) 985-5526 or visit www.calrep.org.

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