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Chillin with Villain’s Theatre 

The newly renamed Villain’s Theatre puts on the “nightmarish labyrinth” The Duchess of Malfi


If "Vile Passéist Theatre" never rolled easily off your tongue, you'll be happy to hear that Halifax's Renaissance-loving theatre company has changed its name to the infinitely more pronounceable The Villain's Theatre.

"After five years as a company, we're experiencing a kind of rebirth," explains artistic director Dan Bray "We decided that a new name would make what we do more accessible, and perhaps make it easier for people to talk about it."

The company began with a very focused mandate: to stage early-modern, non-Shakespearean drama. However, it has recently begun to explore new areas within that focus. "We're looking for opportunities to play with text, and to be inspired by it," says Bray, citing as an example the family-friendly Fringe adaptation of In the Telling last year.

Villain's has settled on Webster's The Duchess of Malfi as the right play to begin its next stage. The play is recognized as the first that portrays a fully tragic female character. It tells the story of a noble woman who falls in love and marries below her station in life, for which she suffers horrific consequences at the hands of her disturbed and disturbing brothers.

"On one hand, The Duchess of Malfi is a nightmarish labyrinth of a play, but it's also got a lot of surprisingly beautiful love scenes," says Bray. "And it's timely, dealing with many issues that have Halifax talking right now, such as men in positions of power abusing their authority."

The Duchess of Malfi
To March 1, 8pm, 2pm matinees Saturday February 28 and Sunday March 1
The Bus Stop Theatre, 2203 Gottingen Street

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