THE RAPE OF LUCRECE: William Shakespeare
Runs: 1h 15, no interval
Tours at regular intervals (details
Review: Alexander Ray Edser, RSC The Swan, 03 07 14
A rare theatrical tour de force
Camille O’Sullivan’s dramatic presentation of THE RAPE OF LUCRECE is one of the theatrical tours de force to treasure. She offers us this tragic narrative with great skill, each and every moment a thrill to savour.
LUCRECE tells a story of love, purity, lust and sexual violence. It centres in the main, around three characters – Lucrece, her husband Collatine, and her husband’s friend, the rapist, Tarquin.
O’Sullivan, in telling the story, at first employs formal theatrical gestures, lifting the story-telling beyond the everyday. But as the story takes hold, she begins, at times, to embody the characters, to physicalise them. At other times, she removes herself from the story-world to present Shakespeare’s commentary on the tale he is telling, or to give us the characters’ thoughts and inner-drives. O’Sullivan switches theatrically between the contemplative, the angry and the heightened dramatic.
O’Sullivan, as you may guess, is Irish. At times she marks out specially significant passages by singing them (it’s not only the Welsh who have such a powerful tradition) or semi-singing. All performance modes merge seamlessly together, so the sense of the whole is never lost.
Throughout the performance O’Sullivan is accompanied by pianist Feargal Murray. The score aids the drama and eases our journey.
THE RAPE OF LUCRECE was first performed in 2011; and it travels the world. If the opportunity arises, don’t let it pass you by.
Performer: Camille O’Sullivan
Pianist: Feargal Murray
Music composed by Camille O’Sullivan and Feargal Murray
Director: Elizabeth Freestone
Designer: Lily Arnold
Lighting Designer: Vince Herbert