Great news for anyone who missed the Philadelphia Artists’ Collective’s one man performance of Shakespeare’s poem RAPE OF LUCRECE last fall. It’s back! And it is not to be missed (again).
More often than not, performers of Shakespeare seem intimidated rather than invigorated by the language, and subsequently fail to convey the power of his words. Not so with Dan Hodge. In an engaging and multidimensional performance, he shows a beautiful understanding of cues and nuances in the poetry that make both the story and the characters come alive. With Hodge the language roars, weeps, and despairs with the force and fearlessness it deserves, and the wonderful physicality of his performance shows an actor truly embodying his characters.
This time around RAPE OF LUCRECE is performed at (and copresented by) the Wilma Theater and it uses the set of Wilma’s current production of Hamlet. Despite both the stage and the theater being perhaps too big for a piece like this, the skillful utilization of the set and particularly the lighting makes you forget the set wasn’t designed specifically for this. RAPE OF LUCRECE doesn’t really need a huge stage or lighting design, but now that it has them, it knows how to use them without shattering the intimacy of the performance. The production is a superb portrayal of a rarely performed work of Shakespeare that makes you wish it was performed more often and always this well, especially since its themes have such a strong connection to the contemporary world. [The Wilma Theater, 265 S. Broad St] April 21-24, 2015; wilmatheater.org.