By Leslie Hassanein, news staff
He was a gentleman and a scholar. His love for this woman consumed his heart so that even a week’s worth of repentance couldn’t deter his passions. His one true crime was to love…his sister?
Now through Saturday, Boston University’s College of Fine Arts, under the direction of Mark Cohen, will perform “‘Tis Pity She’s a Whore,” John Ford’s moral rollercoaster of a production from the 1630s, at the Calderwood Pavilion.
The show, with as many subplots and twists as a Telemundo novela, follows the moral demise of Giovanni (Bo Krucik) and his sister Annabella (Madeline Sosnowski) after they go against the Friar’s (Jack Lavey) advice and consummate their love in Parma, Italy. Annabella, surrounded by a number of suitors, marries Soranzo (Alessandro Lustan Zanet).
Soranzo leaves his mistress, the supposedly widowed Hippolyta (Kaitlin Cullen-Verhauz), who in turn promises Soranzo’s servant Vasquez (Joseph Boyce) they’ll marry once he helps her kill Soranzo. To add to the drama, the play’s one piece of comic relief, Bergetto (Chase Schlachlin) is killed off early on in a case of mistaken identity.
This story of incest, betrayal and uncanny amounts of blood is not for the faint of heart. In fact, the play borders on being too bloody, especially the Hamlet-like ending, displaying a number of violent deaths in a matter of minutes. The staging and effects for this bloodbath invite audience members into a moment of violence and misery.
As for the cast, Krucik stole the show with his intense depiction of Giovanni. Each line was timed to a perfect end, furthering the passion and sheer emotion behind the character. Krucik’s facial expressions flowed aqueously with his words, from his doe-eyed lip quivers to his furrowed, angry brow juxtaposing his bodily convulsions.
The second act was taken hostage by Boyce, as he delivered meticulously sly monologues to the audience that almost overshadowed his master’s passionate fits of anger.
Cullen-Verhauz proved herself as the spoil of the show. Her role lacked gusto. Her nerves were apparent, especially in the first act, where her “dramatic” pauses were so long it seemed she had forgotten her lines. Her stage presence seemed awkward and her movements were robotic and forced in comparison to the other actors.
“‘Tis Pity” had no pity for the Catholic Church, painting the Cardinal (Jules Tanner) as corrupt and greedy. The Cardinal’s only role resembled that of a mafioso; his presence demanded respect, but he was the epitome of unjust. In the end of course, though the entire play was riddled with sin, the cardinal won by demanding the valuables of all that have perished.
Irony or accuracy, the religious undertone exemplified the true feeling of damnation brought about by this masterpiece.
photo courtesy Creative Commons