With frequent sword fights, modern humor, and mysterious love, The Phantom Lady is a play that has a little something for everyone. Despite the setting in 1600’s Madrid, Spain, The Phantom Lady reaches into modernity with ease, presenting themes of honor, love, and comedy that we can still relate to. It is, above all, a cloak and dagger play about the love between Don Manuel and a mysterious widow whose honor he chooses to defend.
Those who dislike Shakespearean plays may be wary of venturing out to see The Phantom Lady. Sebastian Alberdi, cast as Roderigo, said he had the same doubts at first.
“I was worried that the humor and intrigue wasn’t going to translate to a 21st century audience. I stopped worrying almost immediately,” he said. “I realized this cast could make even the most boring show exciting,” laughed Alberdi, and with the abounding plot twists and mysteries, The Phantom Lady never bores, even at a two-hour run time.
The cast does a phenomenal job of bringing the 17th century humor into modern contexts, whether it be the wit of the servant Cosme or the hijinks that ensue when Doña Angela tries to set up a secret meeting between her and Don Manuel.
Although the humor is the most striking aspect of the piece, The Phantom Lady has its fair share of romance and intrigue as well. The constant miscommunication between Doña Angela and Don Manuel is visually aided by the set, which involves a swinging wall that separates their two rooms. It is moved nearly every scene to switch between Don Manuel’s guest room and Doña Angela’s secret room, where she is hidden away from the world, supposed to be in mourning over her husband. The set, though sparse, gives the viewer a perfect glimpse into old Madrid, and it is constantly transformed as the play goes on. The play is exhaustingly action-packed both in the stage directions and the set movement, said Alberdi, but “I’m glad as hell that I’m a part of it.”
With lightness and constant action, The Phantom Lady delights both the eyes and mind. Even the most ardent despiser of 17th century plays will find something to love in the gags and the humor that it brings to the table. The Phantom Lady runs from the November 5-17 at 8 PM on weekdays and 2 PM on Sunday. It is performed with an intermission of fifteen minutes. Tickets can be purchased through myNEU or by calling (617) 373-4700.