By John Ford

Directed by Selina Cartmell
Set Design – Antje Ellermann
Costume Design – Susan Hilferty
Lighting Design – Marcus Doshi
Composer/Sound Design – David Van Tieghem
Choreographer – Annie-B Parson
Fight Choreographer – J. Allen Suddeth
Musician – Molly Yeh
Voice Director – Andrew Wade
Casting – Deborah Brown
Stage Manager – Linda Marvel
Assistant Stage Manager – Sid King


Featuring Bianca Amato, Annika Boras, Jacob Fishel, and Saxon Palmer
With Justin Blanchard, Olwen Fouéré, Philip Goodwin, Ian Holcomb, John Keating, Robert Langdon Lloyd, Tom Nelis, Margaret Loesser Robinson, and Andrew Weems

INTIMACY. INTRIGUE. INDECENCY. A long feud between two Spartan families has ended with the loving engagement of their children, Penthea and Orgilus. Penthea’s father, however, dies before the wedding can take place, and her twin brother, Ithocles, forces her into a socially advantageous match with a ridiculously jealous older man. Ithocles returns to Sparta a war hero and falls in love with the Princess Calantha, hoping for precisely the joy he has deprived his sister. When Origlus takes his revenge, Calantha cannot stand aloof. Director Selina Cartmell observes, “The Broken Heart is both ancient and modern. Timeless issues of ‘perverse’ sexual and gender relationships are confronted as Ford interweaves dance, music and silence with his remarkable text.”

The Broken Heart will be Director Selina Cartmell’s American debut. Ms. Cartmell, a British artist living in Ireland, was the 2007 protégé to Julie Taymor as part of the Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative. Ms. Cartmell has directed at the Royal Shakespeare Company (Marina Carr’s Cordelia’s Dream) and has been commissioned by the Abbey Theatre to create a new version of W.B. Yeat’s Deidre. For her production of Medea, she was the Winner of the 2011 Irish Times Best Director Award.

What the critics are saying

“Theatre for a New Audience and director Selina Cartmell deserve accolades not just for reviving Ford’s little-known The Broken Heart, but also for giving it the kind of revelatory production that proves it’s an overlooked classic. The ensemble is uniformly fine, Cartmell is obviously a classical director to watch.”

Village Voice

“There’s a lot to admire in Selina Cartwell’s ghostly production … [with] several truly superb actors.”

New York Magazine

“A sophisticated, insightful, classy production. The timelessness of Ford’s characters’ emotions enables director Selina Cartmell to make the work completely accessible to a modern audience.”

Associated Press

“This stylish rendition of this rarely performed play captures all of its chills and black humor.  The action is clear and swiftly paced, and the large ensemble does well by both the play’s poetic language and its intense physical demands.”

New York Post

“Love collides with gory revenge in John Ford’s rarely produced tragedy, which is getting a welcome production from Theatre for a New Audience.  In Selina Cartmell’s astonishingly lucid and ravishingly beautiful production, the piece simply rivets audiences’ attention.”


“A peerless production from Theatre for a New Audience. Hallelujah for the ever-inventive director, Selina Cartmell, who has taken a difficult poetic play and made it accessible to all. There’s hardly a false note in this stylish, chic­ presentation that happily also succeeds in conveying a definite emotional punch. A production no serious theatergoer should miss.”


“The Broken Heart has all the hair-raising pleasures of the genre — grisly blood-lettings, whispered accusations of incest, creeping madness, starvation, and a whiff of necrophilia. This to-the-hilt (sometimes literally) drama is matched by to-the-hilt stagecraft in this magnificent production under Selina Carmell’s direction.”

The Philadelphia Inquirer

“’The Broken Heart’ may just wound or heal yours. It is definitely worth the time.”

Times Square Chronicles

“The production, directed by Selina Cartmell, is impressive and the cast includes some of Off Broadway’s finest performers.”

World Socialist Web

“Theatre for a New Audience’s production of John Ford’s The Broken Heart offers a chance to witness classical English drama in a style other than Shakespeare’s. Selina Cartmell’s muted production is at the same time lucid, coherent and accessible, quite an achievement for a staging of a 17th century play that will be unfamiliar to most theatergoers.”

Theatre Scene

“A stately staging of this rarely seen play.  By the conclusion, several of the principal characters have met dire ends.  It is not surprising that the blood flowing from their veins is not the gaudy lipstick red you usually see onstage, but ink black. That’s an inspired touch.”

New York Times

“A Distinctive Masterpiece”

Times of London

“Ford’s writing is both muscular and florid, shifting between passion, comedy, bombast, ribald comedy and blind rage, and occasionally stopping your heart…”

Sunday Times of London

“The Broken Heart is a gripping, powerful and transformative drama that demonstrates the deeply moving humanity of one the finest playwrights of the Jacobean period. This timeless piece explores a society where men and women are tested to their limits.”

Dublin Theatre

“So what is it about these violent and baroque plays, four centuries old that haunt our contemporary imagination? What kind of culture did they spring from? And why are they once again filling our theatres?

The Guardian

“Selina Cartmell’s wildly imaginative productions are the envy of older, more established figures throughout these islands, and actors dream of working with her.”

-The Dubliner