By Nancy Ibarra Medrano
The anticipation built for a production marketed as a ‘female team an exploring how sexual violence resonates across the centuries’, was high throughout the week. This musical had the opportunity to influence the discussion of gender inequalities through the reflection of power struggles throughout the centuries. In my opinion, the performance shied away from directly addressing the issue at hand and missed their opportunity to connect to today’s climate.
The operatic style of music allowed for a poetic delivery of suspense and events throughout the play. I was often left with beautiful lines from each of the narrators for more than a few minutes. The precision in word choice and message were what I liked most about this production. The stylistic choice increased the severity of tone and eased the transition of scenes. Characters were often able to connect and reflect the complexity of their intentions when they sang in harmony. Their voices carried the strengthened support for one another and especially for Lucretia. In that sense, it added to the presentation of the production, but there is much to say about the added distraction to the climax of the musical.
Opera is appreciated in a way unlike any other genre. It is slow and building, unlike the issue of sexual assault. The volume and breadth of this song certainly reached the audience, but the elongated words did not leave them with a deeper understanding of Lucretia’s demise. Krannert Center surely attempts to solve this issue with the screened lyrics above the stage, but it lacks the direct voice to provoke audience members.
The resolution of this production was bare. The indication of disparity was evident in the demise of Lucretia, but the consequences for the abuser were left unknown. On one hand, this could be a valid reflection of the repercussions faced by those who are not identified, but in the case of this production – he is. Therefore, the message to the viewers would have been more stark if the attacker faced the punishment he deserved. Thus, inducing the viewer to ruminate on the lost dignities and lives of women in our current times.