Lucrece’s Revenge: A Fringe masterpiece returns for a brief run at the Wilma

Dan Hodge, Rape of Lucrece posterPhindie 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.”

Dan Hodge, Rape of Lucrece 2 by Kate Raines

Dan Hodge, Rape of Lucrece by Kate Raines

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;


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Christopher Munden

Your faithful correspondent and publisher Christopher Munden has written and edited for many publications, websites, and cultural institutions. He was an editor/publisher of the Philly Fiction book series, collections of short stories written by local writers and set in Philadelphia. He's also a soccer coach and a pretty good skier.