THE DUCHESS OF PADUA
BY OSCAR WILDE
"I have no hesitation in saying that it is the masterpiece of all my literary work, the chef d'oeuvre of my youth." – Oscar Wilde in 1883.
Oscar Wilde’s early play is a cocktail of influences – Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet and The Duchess of Malfi are mixed together with flashes of Wilde’s famous turns of phrase, to create a play of huge poetic beauty and ambition.
When Guido Ferranti is contacted by a man who claims to know the secret of his parentage, he is plunged into the murderous intrigues of the court of the Duke of Padua. When he meets the Duchess Beatrice, he finds himself torn apart by the choice between love and revenge.
“See thou hast enemies,
Else will the world think very little of thee;
It is its test of power;
yet see thou show'st
A smiling mask of friendship to all men,
Until thou hast them safely in thy grip”
Far removed from his later society comedies, this play is a fascinating insight into a darker side of Wilde and sees him paying tribute to Shakespeare and Jacobean tragedy. This newly edited version is a rare opportunity to see Wilde’s forgotten early work.
“well imagined and skilfully wrought scenes…full of the fire of eloquence” – original New York Times review in 1891
Presented as a script in hand rehearsed reading.
Monday 14th November at 7.30pm
Latecomers will not be admitted.