Philip Massinger’s The Unnatural Combat is a brutal, uncomfortable play that reflects the evolution of dramatic storytelling in the decades following Shakespeare’s retirement and death. Massinger is a writer more concerned with morality, and the way personal corruption inevitably becomes political, and many of his plays (including The Unnatural Combat) can be read as a warning against the consequences of immorality in high places. The Unnatural Combat has a greater degree of what we would think of as psychological realism than we are used to seeing from Shakespeare, while also engaging in dramatic suspense and horror of the like we rarely see in Shakespeare’s plays. In The Unnatural Combat, Massinger offers a world where there exists a thin line between virtue and vice, and a warning that every evil thing we do makes it that much easier for us to excuse the most abominable behavior in ourselves in others. At a time when cruelty has become the lingua franca of our political discourse, The Unnatural Combat calls out to us from four centuries ago, begging us to consider whither we may be going.
This is a live Zoom production. Tickets: http://www.sweetteashakespeare.com/tickets/