Revenge is sweet in The Spanish Tragedy

Terrible Machiavellian leader, hitting too close to home?

Stoo Metz

The Spanish Tragedy
Written by Thomas Kyd & Adapted by Dan Bray
Directed by Dan Bray
The Bus Stop Theatre, 2203 Gottingen Street
November 15th to 20th

Thomas Kyd wrote The Spanish Tragedy in the late 16th century, a play that would become terribly famous and inspire such minor works as Hamlet. Halifax’s Villain’s Theatre, a company with a penchant for revenge-filled Elizabethan tragedies, has brought the classic story into 1930s Spain, a perhaps inconsequential change from the original script, but a change that, at the very least, allows for some impressive costumes by Kelsey Stanger and gorgeous original music by Michael Robson. Surely, there are countless periods and places that can hold context for a story of corruption, murder, and revenge: these facets of humanity are timeless, and thus perpetually timely. The story, like the best pithy tales, is immediately recognizable, and mostly predictable, but this is a large part of its strength. An oft-told story that hits that much deeper because it feels, in many ways, inevitable. Katherine Tufts as Hieronimo, the judge who seeks revenge for his son’s murder, is a powerful thing to watch. Her performance is idiosyncratic and gut-wrenching, and is the standout in a very strong ensemble cast helmed by director Dan Bray. One might wonder what a centuries-old play can offer a contemporary audience. Just imagine Lorenzo, the Spanish King, is any other Machiavellian leader (Donald Trump, for instance) and some catharsis is sure to follow.

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