The Duchess of Malfi
Saw The Duchess of Malfi tonight – my first non-Shakespearean Elizabethan/Jacobean/whatever play. (First one I’ve seen, anyway.) Good. Not great. The language was rather good, too. Badger hunting by owl-light and all that. (I get the feeling, from my google searches, that that is one of the most famous lines from the play, and I don’t know whether I should be happy or not that I picked up on it without any prior knowledge – there’s always a tendency to want to find the good in something that no one has yet to find yet, after all. Like Melville liking Timon of Athens.)
As for the play itself – what a flicker of humanity is contained in it! Nothing but a flicker. I was saying to my friend on the way home – “art shouldn’t be malicious”, and I found something very malicious in it. Perhaps this is to do with the fact that my friend and I could not work out between us what on earth the brothers’ motivation was for getting so wound up about the Duchess marrying her steward, which no doubt therefore made the motivation (whatever it was) seem somewhat petty.
The language, too, was easier to follow than Shakespeare. I doubt it’s because the actors were doing a good job with it – I must contrast the two writers at some point, and try and learn something for once. I’m sure I have the text in the house somewhere; I must have bought it in the barrage of plays earlier this year that I ordered.
The BBC Proms start in Britain tonight (which will be tomorrow in Australia). Last year I tried to listen to as many of them as possible, but this year, now that I make quite the habit of seeing concerts in Sydney, I’m not sure if I will be so enthusiastic. The good thing about the Proms, though, is the variety – definitely the variety. Always good to increase one’s knowledge. (Well, not ‘always’ good, but for the most part.)