Our after school, mid-week trip to see The Duchess of Malfi at the Almeida in Islington was an ambitious one, involving five means of transport. But perhaps it befits a play of such suffering and power that our journey was more of a pilgrimage than a trip, writes Ms O’Neill.
Year 13 English students were excited to see ‘their’ play on stage, noticing cuts and directorial decisions with interest. Rebecca Frecknall’s production was striking – with a room of glass that allowed a contrast between private and public spaces. The presence of the three murdered women in the glass room, who silently spectated as Act Five unfolded in all its horror, was a powerful sight. Lydia Wilson’s Duchess, meanwhile, managed to be both human and scornful – directing affairs for much of the play and even commanding her murderer to get on with it – ‘Pull, and pull strongly’.
We were all struck by the black reflective floor, which, by the end, was flooded with black blood, and seeing the audience reflected in the glass wall reminded us that we were part of the tragedy. Well worth the journey and the inevitable late night, this Duchess is one to be remembered.
Thanks to all Year 13 English students for making our adventure such an enjoyable one.