Shakespeare’s The Rape of Lucrece (1594)

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Dramatic performance by Elena Pellone, talk with Elena Pellone and David Schalkwyk (7 November 2023)

Join us for a very special performance of Shakespeare’s poignant narrative poem, The Rape of Lucrece (1594). Actress Elena Pellone will offer a dramatic performance of the poem at the Experimentiertheater, Bismarckstr. 1, on 7 November 2023. The performance starts at 4 pm and will be followed by a discussion with Elena, renowned Shakespearean scholar David Schalkwyk, and students from the English Department of FAU Erlangen-Nuremberg.

The moving story of the rape and consequent suicide of Lucretia in the sixth century BC is said to have helped bring about the overthrow of the Roman monarchy and facilitate the transition to a republic. However, Shakespeare tells her story not primarily as a foundational political narrative. According to Dympna C. Callaghan, he endows Lucrece with a full humanity; he focusses on the violation of her personhood and grants her the power to “articulate – at length – her suffering and name the outrage committed on her person”. Her capacity to speak out about sexual violence makes her story extremely relevant for our contemporary moment.

Elena Pellone is an actress, Shakespearean scholar and the Artistic Facilitator of the Venice Shakespeare Company and Anərkē Shakespeare. She devised and performed Shakespeare’s Rape of Lucrece for the inauguration of the Verona Shakespeare Fringe Festival in July 2021, and the Shakespeare’s Coming Home! Festival, Stratford upon Avon, in March 2022.

David Schalkwyk is Professor of Shakespeare Studies at Queen Mary University of London and Director of the Centre for Global Shakespeare. His publications on Shakespeare include Speech and Performance in Shakespeare’s Sonnets and Plays (2002), Shakespeare, Love and Service (2008) and Shakespeare, Love and Language (2019). He has also acted in Anərkē Shakespeare and Venice Shakespeare Company productions.

The event is organised by the Chair of Literature and Culture (Prof. Dr. Lillge)