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In-Person & Streaming


Recorded November 14, 2022

This event premiered LIVE on November 14th. The performance was simulcast. A recording was available Sunday, November 20th.

Directed by Jesse Berger

Featuring Shirine Babb, Kelley Curran, Gerrard James, Maurice Jones, Alfredo Narciso, Bhavesh Patel, Amelia Pedlow, Lorenzo Pisoni, Matthew Rauch, Derek Smith, Raphael Nash Thompson, and Nathan Winkelstein.

A great romance turns to horror as the Duchess of Malfi seeks true love in a world of forbidden passions. This explosive drama of Italian intrigue examines sexual repression, honor, class, and the true value of the human spirit.


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Our OBIE Award-winning Revelation Readings provide you with the unique opportunity to experience these rarely-produced classic plays performed by the finest actors in New Yor–now online and in-person.

Red Bull Theater's Off-Broadway production of John Webster's plat ran in the winter of 2010. Find out more.

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CAST OF CHARACTERS in order of appearance

Antonio | Alfredo Narciso

Delio | Bhavesh Patel

Daniel de Bosola | Matthew Rauch

Cardinal of Aragon | Derek Smith

Ferdinand | Lorenzo Pisoni

Castruccio | Raphael Nash Thompson

Malateste | Maurice Jones

Roderigo | Gerrard James

Duchess of Malfi | Kelley Curran

Cariola | Shirine Babb

Julia | Amelia Pedlow

Servants, Guards, Lords, Ladies, Children, and Lunatics played by the Company.


Director | Jesse Berger

Stage Manager | Jenn McNeil

Assistant Stage Manager | Jessica Fornear

Video Services | Merelis Productions, Inc.

Producing Director | Nathan Winkelstein

General Manager | Sherri Kotimsky


In Renaissance tragedy, women who assert their sexual independence often meet a bad end: think of Juliet, Gertrude, Desdemona, and Cleopatra. Webster’s Duchess of Malfi, who secretly marries her steward in defiance of her brothers’ commandments, could be placed in this company, but she also has a unique status as a titular tragic hero, a status she earns through the conviction of her right to act on her erotic desires. This is not to claim that The Duchess of Malfi (1614) is concerned with sexuality alone. If Webster is drawing from love tragedy such as Romeo and Juliet and Othello, he is also drawing on the theatrical styles and ideological concerns of violent revenge tragedy such as Hamlet, of sentimental domestic tragedy such as Heywood’s A Woman Killed with Kindness, and of political tragedy such as King Lear. In the Duchess’ bold assertion of will—“If all my royal kindred / Lay in my way unto this marriage, / I’d make them my low footsteps”—Webster even echoes Marlowe’s Tamburlaine, the archetype of aggressive masculine ambition.


The rich theatrical legacy Webster weaves into his tragedy contributes to the fascinating complexity of the Duchess’ character. Citing the Renaissance stereotype of the “lusty widow,” some have found that the play condemns the Duchess for indulging her imprudent passion for a servant. Although the Duchess conceals her marriage to Antonio for many years, her subjection to p