Friday, January 26, 2018

The Rape of Lucrece—Street Scenes—at Imago Theatre



 Violation

     This play is based on a long poem my Shakespeare, adapted and directed by Michael Streeter, music by Matt Insley (piano) and with Sumi Wu (violin), in collaboration with Jessica Tidd, who also performs this one-woman show.  It is play at the Imago space, 17 SE 8th Ave., just off Burnside (street parking only, so plan your time accordingly).  For more information on the run dates and info on the show, go to CWPeducation@gmail.com

   
This is an ancient story of a violation of the most grievous sort which has, unfortunately, carried over into modern day.  It is told/sung by one person, Jessica Tidd, narrating the story and playing the chief characters.  Shakespeare wrote it as a very long poem with beautiful language, so it is appropriate that music (Insley and Wu), as well as some of it being sung, be incorporated into the story.
It starts out as a stable of men, bragging about which of their wives is most virtuous, with Collatine winning, his wife being Lucrece.  Tarquin, the King’s son, becomes enamored of her and so sends her husband out of town on a mission so that he can be alone with her.  He attempts seduction, but when that fails, he rapes her.  She informs her father and husband of this when they return.  Being that shame would be brought upon her family, she kills herself.  But her story is relayed to the masses and they revolt, sending the ruling family into exile.

    But this curse, as to the lack of empowerment of women, has followed through to this day, as we have seen.  Yes, heads are toppling of males in high positions, but the case that struck me as most horrendous, is that of the doctor (his name does not even deserved to be mentioned) who “practiced” on young gymnasts, over 100, many of them Olympic hopefuls.  Psychologically these young ladies lives will be scarred forever.  And the atmosphere in which this was allowed to happen is equally at fault.  Too long have women (and minorities) been demeaned by “the powers that be” and it is time that the tide changes…and that time is NOW! 

    Since I’m of an artistic bent, and am an advocate for the Arts, I recommend that young ladies be enrolled in some type of Arts program early on, so that they can investigate, in a safe environment, their unique, fearless powers within them, and let that grow in an environment of teamwork, building self-confidence, and carry that into adulthood.  Well, I’ve digressed enough, but I think you see the point and, I’m sure, that Streeter, Tidd and company had a similar message all along when they presented this piece.

    Tidd is, hands down, phenomenal!  She not only narrates the story but plays other characters and sings part of the script.  So, for about 80 minutes, you are mesmerized by her story and talent.  And Insley and Wu added much to the show by their introduction of mood music to the proceedings.  Streeter has done a terrific job of staging this production, focusing, as should be, on Tidd, with some clever lighting by Allison Blaine, and picturing the male dominance as simply stiff, hollow, mannequin-like presences, having no control whatsoever as to how things progress, and relegated to the female to flesh-out their contributions.  Quite inventive all around.
I recommend this show.  If you do choose to see it, please tell them Dennis sent you.

--DJS