Cast: Jon Beal, Casey Chapman, Simina Contras, Kevin Cox, John Kahara, Lyndsay Rose Kane, Emily Lotspeich, Mike Mazzocca, Pavi Proczko, J. Keegan Siebken, Mike Steele, Kevin Webb


John Webster was born sometime around 1580. Little is known of his early years but it is thought that he was a practicing lawyer. At the beginning of the 17th century Webster collaborated with Thomas Dekker on Westward Ho. He produced nothing between 1605 and 1611, and then he wrote The Duchess of Malfi, which was performed both at the Globe Public Theatre and Blackfriars Playhouse. The play is considered to be among the finest of all Jacobean tragedies and a referenced example of extreme violence from the literary time. Webster was not afraid of tackling the darker side of human nature and the extremes to which human beings are prepared to go in pursuit of their ends. However, although Webster’s plays include adultery, murder, treachery, and Machiavellian plots, he doesn’t write that way to jolt: his plays show the real, unpleasant, truths about life. His plays are shocking, gripping and enthralling. The visceral and heightened theatricality of Webster’s vision in Malfi, a playwright who as TS Eliot once remarked “was much possessed by death/And saw the skull beneath the skin,” should prove a natural fit for Trap Door Theatre. This play hailed as the origin of macabre and Gothic literature, has influenced a wide range of artists from TS Elliott to PD James, Stephen King to Echo and the Bunnymen.

Assistant Director: Meghan Lewis / Set Design: Mike Mroch / Lighting Design: Rachel Levy / Costume Design: Rachel Sypniewski / Music Composition: Mark Winston / Make-Up Design: Zsófia Ötvös / Graphic Design: Michal Janicki / Dramaturg: Dr. Charles Grimes/ Stage Manager: Kristin Davis / Fight Choreography: Rick Gilbert and Victor Bayona / Movement: Lyndsay Rose Kane and Simina Contras

The Duchess of Malfi


Written by John Webster

Directed by Christopher Marino

January 14 – February 27, 2016


Dark motives, an irrational obsession, sublime poetry and lurid Gothic horror.


Christopher Marino The Duchess of Malfi is the third in a trilogy of Jacobean plays he has directed the same year; starting with his critically acclaimed productions of Macbeth and Tis Pity She’s a Whore. He has taught at numerous universities and theatres in the US and England. Schools and theatres include the Shakespeare Theatre Company – Washington DC, Utah Shakespearean Festival, Baltimore Shakespeare Festival, Stella Adler in New York City, George Washington University, University of Maryland – Baltimore County, and Illinois State University. As an actor he has a career that spans twenty years working regionally and at Shakespeare festivals. Christopher is also a founding member of the Helen Hayes award winning Taffety Punk Theatre Company in Washington DC. He is the former artistic director of the Baltimore Shakespeare Festival and was the assistant artistic director at Piccolo Theatre. Christopher holds two graduate degrees from the Shakespeare Theatre DC/George Washington University and Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art – London.