‘Tis Pity She’s A Whore

‘Tis Pity She’s A Whore

Written by John Ford
Performed in English
2011–2014

Before the play begins, Giovanni, son to Florio and a bright scholar, has returned from university accompanied by his tutor the Friar, to his home in Parma. Meanwhile, his sister Annabella has attracted the interest of a number of suitors; Florio is keen for his daughter to marry, and the nobleman Soranzo is his preferred choice for her husband. However, as the play opens one element remains to be brought to light: the nature of Giovanni’s feelings for his sister.

This vivid and violent Jacobean tragedy shows a brother and sister’s passionate descent into hell.

Incest, religion and corrupt morality collide in this ‘sexy, stylish production’ (The Times), making this play as shocking and controversial today as it was almost four hundred years ago. 

Produced by Cheek by Jowl in a co-production with the Barbican, London, Les Gémeaux / Sceaux / Scène Nationale and Sydney Festival.

“A blazing, daring vision – a masterful evening.”

Le Figaro
Cast and creative team

Cast

2014

NameCharacter
Eve PonsonbyAnnabella
Sam McArdleGrimaldi
David CollingsFlorio
Ruth EverettHippolita
Ryan EllsworthDonado
Jimmy FairhurstGratiano
Orlando JamesGiovanni
Raphael SowoleFriar
Peter MoretonCardinal/Doctor
Nicola SandersonPutana
Maximilien SewerynSoranzo
Will AlexanderVasques

2012–2013

NameCharacter
Gina BramhillAnnabella
Philip CairnsGrimaldi
David CollingsFlorio
Hedydd DylanHippolita
Ryan EllsworthDonado
Jimmy FairhurstGratiano
Orlando JamesGiovanni
Jonathan LivingstoneFriar
Peter MoretonDoctor/Cardinal
Nicola SandersonPutana
Gyuri SarossySoranzo
Laurence SpellmanVasques

2011–2012

NameCharacter
Suzanne BurdenHippolita
David CollingsFlorio
Ryan EllsworthDonado
Jimmy FairhurstGratiano
Jack GordonGiovanni
Nyasha HatendiFriar
Jack HawkinsSoranzo
Lizzie HopleyPutana
Peter MoretonCardinal/Doctor
David MumeniGrimaldi
Laurence SpellmanVasques
Lydia WilsonAnnabella

Creative Team

2014

RoleName
DirectorDeclan Donnellan
DesignerNick Ormerod
Associate and Movement DirectorJane Gibson
Lighting Judith Greenwood
Music/SoundNick Powell
Assistant DirectorParis Erotokritou
Casting DirectorSiobhan Bracke
Costume SupervisorAngie Burns
Company ManagerTim Speechley
Technical Stage ManagerRobin Smith
Deputy Stage ManagerClare Loxley
LightingDavid Salter
SoundMorgan Rogers
Wardrobe ManagerVictoria Youngson
Assistant Stage ManagerAngela Garrick
Music SupervisorPeter Moreton

2012–2013

RoleName
DirectorDeclan Donnellan
DesignerNick Ormerod
Associate and Movement DirectorJane Gibson
Lighting DesignerJudith Greenwood
SoundMark Cunningham
Co-DirectorOwen Horsley
Company Stage ManagerLinsey Hall
Deputy Stage ManagerClare Loxley
LightingDavid Salter
Composer and Sound DesignerNick Powell

2011–2012

RoleName
DirectorDeclan Donnellan
DesignerNick Ormerod
Associate and Movement DirectorJane Gibson
Lighting DesignerJudith Greenwood
Music/Sound DesignNick Powell
Associate DirectorOwen Horsley
Casting DirectorSiobhan Bracke
Voice CoachEmma Woodvine
Fight DirectorJonathan Waller
Production ManagerSimon Bourne
Costume SupervisorAngie Burns
Company ManagerLinsey Hall
Technical Stage ManagerDougie Wilson
Deputy Stage ManagerClare Loxley
Lighting AssociateKristina Hjelm
Sound AssociateMark Cunningham
Production PhotographyManuel Harlan
Wardrobe ManagerVictoria Youngson
Assistant Stage Manager
(Rehearsals, Paris)
Tilly Stokes
Assistant Stage Manager
(Tour)
Rosina Webb
Stage Management placementAngela Garrick
Previous performances

Previous Performances

DateLocation
28 February–2 March 2014Taipei, National Chiang Kai–Shek Cultural Center, Taiwan
19–21 February 2014Colchester, Mercury Theatre, UK
9–12 January 2013Los Angeles, CAP UCLA, USA
18–22 December 2012Athens, Onassis Cultural Center, Greece
7–10 December 2012Nantes, Le Grand T, France
27 November–1 December 2012Lyon, Théâtres des Célestins, France
21–22 November 2012Katowice, Teatr Slaski, Poland
15–17 November 2012Luxembourg, Les Théâtres de la Ville de Luxembourg, Luxembourg
6–10 November 2012Nottingham, Theatre Royal, UK
24 October–3 November 2012Bristol, Old Vic, UK
11–21 April 2012Madrid, Las Naves del Español, Matadero, Spain
20–31 March 2012New York City, BAM, USA
16 February–10 March 2012London, Barbican, UK
7–11 February 2012Oxford, Oxford Playhouse, UK
1–4 February 2012Coventry, Warwick Arts Centre, UK
26–28 January 2012Cambridge, Cambridge Arts Theatre, UK
17–21 January 2012Sydney, Sydney Theatre, Australia
30 November–18 December 2011Sceaux, Les Gémeaux, Paris, France
Reviews

Reviews

UK

“Darkly funny, superbly visceral and poignant… electrifying”

Independent on Sunday

“One of the finest and most bitterly outrageous Jacobean productions you could hope to see… totally compelling.”

WhatsOnStage

“Sexy, stylish, a thrill to sit through.”

The Times

“Thrillingly intense and urgent.”

Evening Standard

“Diabolically witty and sexed up.”

The Independent

“Fleet-of-foot and fluid.”

The Telegraph

“Declan Donnellan’s thrilling Cheek by Jowl revival…a modern, gothic spin.”

Financial Times

“Donnellan and Ormerod’s sexy and unnerving new production…gruesomely, wildly alive.”

Time Out, Critic’s Choice

France

“Up-to-the-minute design, a blazing, daring vision – a masterful evening. 
Tragic, violent, scandalous, the play is a masterpiece. An absolute must-see. 
a stunning ensemble guided by Declan Donnellan’s masterful hand. 
the company grabs hold of the play with a vivid intensity.”

Le Figaro

“John Ford’s play, transposed from the Renaissance to the 3rd millennium by the British director Declan Donnellan, is a frenetic ballet-opera where damned lovers flirt with the apocalypse. The company, on stage throughout – celebrating, fighting or hiding in the shade like an army of demons – are impressive in their energy and virtuosity. Not every day does one get (and feel) such an Elizabethan hit.”

Les Echos

“It is masterfully organised in modern dress, in an ingenious design by Nick Ormerod…acted with an enviable, powerfully passionate edge.”

L’Humanité

Spain

“As on previous occasions, the cast of Cheek by Jowl are capable of rigorously respecting the text, adapting it to modern dress and situations, thereby making more poignant the validity and humanity of the emotions it narrates. In this case it plays with the myriad of unbridled passions whereby the splendid actors move, amuse and sadden the audience, crossing the stage with boundless energy, in control of every last detail, in a subtle and precise theatrical choreography, with an impressive physical presence, manipulating difficult texts with immense confidence and displaying musical skills and even circus tricks. Overwhelming.”

El Mundo

“The performance by Cheek by Jowl, presented last week at the Matadero after a very successful international tour, is, I believe, one of the best of its career.”

Babélia (El País supplement)

Australia

“Britain’s Cheek by Jowl condense John Ford’s still-potent Jacobean play into two hours of sensual, fluid and sometimes blackly comic drama…Declan Donnellan’s production blends the codified gestures of Elizabethan theatre with choreographed movement sequences (developed by Jane Gibson), painterly tableaux and 21st-century Tarantino-toned viciousness.”

Sydney Morning Herald
Production photo
Photograph: Manuel Harlan
Production photo
Photograph: Manuel Harlan
Production photo
Photograph: Manuel Harlan

“One of the finest and most bitterly outrageous Jacobean productions you could hope to see… totally compelling”

What’s on Stage

Eroticism opens the way to death.

Georges Bataille

Brother, dear brother, know what I have been,
And know there’s but a dining-time
‘Twixt us and our confusion.

Act V, Scene v

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