Archives for March 2012

One Flesh, One Love, One Heart, One All

‘Tis Pity She’s a Whore. What Giovanni can’t bear is his sister Annabella’s giving him up. She never hesitated to love him. Joyfully she yielded to their physical love, forbidden, passionate and relentless, celebrated in their red-lit, red bedroom hung with contemporary teen posters and opening onto a porcelain bathroom, scene of horrors. Their sin is perfect in its innocent purity. But once she’s made pregnant by her brother, Annabella has to marry. Someone else. She accepts the husband she’s given, Soranzo, who’s already jilted another girl, and in this he contributes to play’s  theme of betrayal that so maddens Giovanni. It’s Annabella’s pious remorse, her writing Giovanni a letter in her blood that shows her knuckling under, conforming to the general morality. Her compunction pleases the friar, her confessor. But to Giovanni, her letter is “an armed thunderbolt aimed at my heart,” a violation of the amour fou that playwright John Ford clearly respects as a greater human value than the powerful incest taboo. Declan Donnellan directs the buoyant Cheek by Jowl company. Ford’s most acclaimed, most controversial play was acted at London’s Phoenix Theatre in 1633 and at Brooklyn’s BAM this month, March 2012. It’s given a frenetic  modern-dress treatment with dance, festivity and the ruthless bloodletting characteristic of Renaissance love tragedy. See it.       At BAM

Copyright 2013 Marcelle Thiebaux