Phindie reviewers called Dan Hodge’s performance in THE RAPE OF LUCRECE “breathtaking” and “enthralling“. Philadelphia Artists’ Collective’s 2014 Fringe show was one of the very best of last year’s festival. This week, Hodge’s one-man adaptation of William Shakespeare’s epic poem returns to Philadelphia in a four-day copresentation with the Wilma Theater in conjunction with their production of Hamlet.
“While The Rape of Lucrece was not necessarily written to be spoken publicly, the hallmarks of Shakespeare’s meticulous aural construction are readily evident.” recounted in a Phindie interview with Henrik Eger. “The trick is taking something that would likely intimidate the average person sitting in a theater and guide them through it in a way that is clear and engaging.”
Hodge succeeds admirably, as I wrote in my original review, he “communicates the story contained within the dense verse, providing an introduction to ease us into the poem; varying his tone, volume, and pace with the mood of each line; using expressive visual cues; and giving each character a voice and depth.”
The piece is not just theatrically engaging, but a “call to activism” on rape culture and victim blaming. Hodge was influenced by the performance of his wife, Krista Apple-Hodge, in the Wilma show Rapture, Blister, Burn. “She [read] feminist theory, both old and new, as part of her research into her character. We had numerous conversations about how the societal expectations of women have changed even in the last 20 years, let alone since 1594.”
“Whenever I work on a speech within a classical play, I ask myself the question, why is this a speech? What is the thing you need from the listener that you are not getting?” says Hodge. “Suddenly, I saw [Lucrece] as someone who had survived this horrible event standing in a room of men who were not immediately convinced. In that moment, there was a crystallization of victim-blaming, and it was horrifying.”
Reviewer Deb Miller called the Fringe run, “the performance of a lifetime.” Thankfully, the piece now gets a second life. [Wilma Theater, 265 S. Broad Street] April 21-25, 2015; wilmatheater.org.
- Henrik Eger’s interview with Dan Hodge about THE RAPE OF LUCRECE, from which quotes in this piece are taken.
- Christopher Munden’s original review of the play
- Deb Miller’s take for Phindie.