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A Woman Killed With Kindness, 1991
Playwright: Thomas Keywood (1573 - 1641)
Director: Katie Mitchell
A Woman Killed With Kindness is a play by English playwright, actor and author Thomas Heywood. It was first acted in 1603 and is considered one of Heywood's best works. The story centres on a married couple, Master Frankford and his wife Anne, who invite another man to come and live in their home to act as a companion. The other man, Wendoll, seduces Anne and they have an affair which is discovered by Frankford. As a punishment Frankford sends his wife into exile but Anne later decides that self-starvation is a more fitting punishment. At the end of the play, husband and wife are reunited.
Mitchell set the play in rural northern England and had researched the period to better understand the social, political and economical setting and motivations of her characters. Vicki Mortimer's design and David Ludlam's lighting were described as having created a 'dour, sombre setting'. The play received mostly positive reviews with one critic commenting that it was a 'formidable achievement'. Those who didn't like it so much wrote that it was slow in pace, or that Heywood's work was too ordinary to produce an interesting production.
It was the first and only time that the RSC have staged this play. Other Jacobean dramas have proved more popular with producers and audiences.
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