Student Troupe’s Production of 1633 Drama Tis Pity She’s a Whore, Set in 1950s, Opens Thursday

Posted November 18th, 2010 at 1:41 pm.

This Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, Nov. 18-20, Shakespeare Performance Troupe presents John Ford’s Tis Pity She’s a Whore. The challenging piece has been in rehearsal for much of this semester and will open this weekend in Rhoads Hall. Admission is free. Doors open at 7 p.m.

First published in 1633, Tis Pity She’s a Whore is one of the most controversial plays in English literature. Its sympathetic depiction of star-crossed lovers — who just happen to be brother and sister — has inspired numerous criticisms and daring performances.

Jessica Doan ’11 and Elizabeth Meravi ’11 co-directed the production. The Shakespeare Troupe veterans, who have collaborated in several other SPT productions, found that setting their version of Tis Pity in the 1950s has proved particularly fruitful to their interpretation. “We decided early on to set the show in the Fifties, both to make it more accessible and to highlight the theme of transgressions,” says Jessica Doan, “A seemingly perfect, orderly society throws any deviance into sharp relief.  Is social acceptability equivalent to morality?  Are socially transgressive actions always wrong?”

The cast of 14 has taken the mature material in stride, handling revenge, tragedy, and duels with grace as an ensemble. “There’s a character for everyone,” says Elizabeth Meravi, “the dashing and manipulative manservant, the fiery widow, the slapstick greaser duo, the passionate lovers. Also there’s dancing, yo-yo tricks, stage fighting, and gratuitous blood,” she adds. The stimulating and thought-provoking show is not to be missed this weekend.

—Ellie Rhymer ’12

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