The Broken Heart

by John Ford / 2013, Webber Douglas Studio, Central / Directed by Ben Naylor with Jenny Ogilvie / Set design by Zoe Josephine Payne / Costume design by Nadege Adlam / Lighting by Edmund McKay / Music and sound by Thomas Moked Blum and Luke Pajak / Fight direction by Rachel Bown-Williams

The Broken Heart is a strange, tough, gloomy play. Perhaps the first truly subtextual drama in the English language, it is also a proto-feminist play, and an early study of depression, of the self-aware modern mind under Renaissance pressures. This production of Ford’s psychologically violent Baroque tragedy counterpointed early Caroline costume with a modernist, cage-like set and a bold, opulent lighting scheme. The themes of courtly intrigue and ambition, and the misogyny of a martial culture, were played with deep inner intensity in a setting rich in symbolism, drawing on the art of Caravaggio, Gentileschi, Rembrandt and Vermeer. The music, too, combined period and contemporary: live digital sound clashing with and manipulating live performance on guitar, bouzouki and violin combining Greek and baroque themes.

Photography by Luke Pajak