The world of this tragedy (relocated in our production to Victorian England) seems at first glance to be one of honor and decorum. However, our production featured one central entrance and two side entrances, all of which tellingly doubled as the doors to both the madhouse and the everyday "sane" society inhabited by Beatrice and DeFlores.
This exquisite tragedy, coauthored by Thomas Middleton and William Rowley, was first licensed for performance in 1622 and first published in 1653. The play opens as Alsemero and Beatrice meet for the first time, falling instantly in love. Unfortunately, Beatrice is already engaged to Alonzo. Desperate to be with the man she loves, Beatrice hires Deflores to murder her fiancè.
Meanwhile, at the Madhouse, Alibius has acquired two new patients: Antonia and Francisca. Both women have entered the madhouse in disguise in order to woo Alibius’ young wife, Isabella.
Once Deflores murders Alonzo, he seeks his reward from Beatrice - but he isn’t interested in money. Beatrice does as he wishes, but then must somehow falsify her virginity to fool Alsemero on their wedding night.
The play concludes with Alonzo’s sister seeking revenge for her brother’s death and Deflores and Beatrice revealed as the true murderers of Alonzo.