New LibriVox: The Changeling

changeling

Elizabeth’s latest dramatic release via LibriVox is the bloodthirsty Jacobean tragedy The Changeling by Thomas Middleton and William Rowley. You can download it for free here. Originally performed in 1622, The Changeling has two intertwining plots. The first involves Beatrice-Joanna, daughter of the governor of Alicante, and her unruly passion for Alsemero, despite the fact that she is engaged to Alonzo de Piracquo. She enlists the aid of her father’s servant De Flores to kill Alonzo so that she can marry Alsemero. However, she does not anticipate that De Flores, who is in love with her, will demand payment for the deed. The second plot is set in a madhouse, where the jealous old doctor Alibius is keeping his beautiful young wife Isabella confined so that she will not be unfaithful to him. Despite his best efforts, she is assailed by illicit suitors on all sides: Franciscus, who disguises himself as a madman, Antonio, who disguises himself as a fool, and Lollio, his lustful servant. Elizabeth read contrasting roles in both plots – tragic Beatrice-Joanna and comic Lollio – and had a lot of fun in the process.

The image is a still from the 1974 film version of The Changeling, with Helen Mirren as Beatrice-Joanna and Stanley Baker as De Flores.

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