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