It’s beginning to feel as though the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, Shakespeare’s Globe’s candle-lit indoor theatre, is specialising in tragic, heart-breaking, brutal tales.
Following hit productions including The Duchess Of Malfi and The Changeling, the latest not entirely cheerful tale is John Ford’s The Broken Heart.
Set in ancient Sparta, it tells the story of a loving couple forced apart by a less than supporting sibling. When Penthea is driven into a marriage with a jealous old man instead of her beloved Orgilus, the shunted boyfriend, instead of moving on, disguises himself as a lowly scholar and bides his time before unleashing a hellish cycle of revenge.
Sounds grizzly, doesn’t it, and perfectly suited for an auditorium rife with shadowy corners and fickering half-light?
But take a look at the bright, cheery snaps from the rehearsal room and you’d think it was a play about candyfloss, pillow fights and cuddles!
There are grins aplenty from the cast that includes Game Of Thrones alumni Owen Teale and Mr Selfridge’s Amy Morgan. There are also what looks like some rather nifty dance floor moves getting an airing. Far too cheery for ancient Sparta.
Take a closer look at the photo board, however, and it offers a glimpse at the darkness that may be in store; not necessarily the emotional darkness of the piece, but actual darkness and how the designer and director could use it in the show’s staging.
If the rehearsal images, taken by Helena Miscioscia, have piqued your interest, you can see The Broken Heart at the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse from 12 March.