CWU News

Duchess of Malfi Explores the Dark Side of Power and Human Nature

The Duchess of Malfi, the 17th-century classic tragedy by John Webster, has been called the “greatest play of the Jacobean period.”

Central Washington University’s Central Theatre Ensemble will bring to life this timeless tale of corruption and power in a magnificently staged production. Based on a true story, this story demonstrates both the brightest and darkest aspects of the human spirit in a vivid and compelling drama.

“We have a drama that focuses on the corruption of power and the stark difference between honor and dishonor,” said Brenda Hubbard, director, and theatre arts professor. “True nobility and honor, in any age is demonstrated through the integrity of one’s actions which can be easily marred by how society perceives one’s reputation.

“Ultimately, Webster reminds us that the most noble and heroic are those who forgive and invest in a future born of honesty and integrity,” she continued. “I hope our audience will find merit in our exploration of this great tragedy, considered by scholars to be one of the most brilliantly written of its period.”

While not a strictly accurate period production, CTE’s Duchess will feature stagecraft and costumes that retain a classical integrity, reflecting several historical eras as well as incorporating contemporary elements.

“The challenge for the students has been to work with an archaic, heightened language in ways that will resonate for the audience,” said Hubbard. “I think their efforts will provide a rare treat for theatre-goers.”

The Duchess of Malfi will be performed in the Milo Smith Theatre at 7:30 p.m. on November 14, 15, 20, 21 and 22. There will matinee performances at 2:00 p.m. on November 16 and 23. A discussion will follow the November 20 performance. General admission tickets are $12; tickets for students and seniors are $10, and $7 for CWU students with ID.

Tickets may be purchased online at, or in person at the Welcome Center on University Way or at the Wildcat Shop Customer Service in the Student Union and Recreation Building. Tickets can be purchased calling 509-963-1429.

Parking in CWU lots is free after 4:30 p.m. and on weekends, except in residence hall lots and in specially designated spaces.

Photo: The treacherous Bosola (Paul Bugallo), left, and noble-minded Antonio (Seth Hollen) represent the battle between the forces of good and evil in The Duchess of Malfi.

Media Contact: Valerie Chapman-Stockwell, Public Affairs, 509-963-1518,