You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.


  • ePAPER

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and bonus content- exclusively for subscribers. Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks


Welcome to

This subscriber-only site gives you exclusive access to breaking news, in-depth coverage, exclusive interactives and bonus content.

You can read free articles of your choice a month that are only available on

Review: Shakespeare gets ‘Ravished’ at Theater Emory

Shakespeare’s traditionally whimsical fantasy “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” becomes something of a nightmare in Theater Emory’s “Ravished.” Conceived and directed by Ariel Fristoe and Maia Knispel, Emory alums and co-founders of Atlanta’s experimental Out of Hand Theater, the show retains the Bard’s basic plot outline and some of his original language to concoct an abridged 75-minute version of events that offers a dark and twisted interpretation of the classic text.

RELATED: Which events in Atlanta should top your calendar this spring?

RELATED: Alliance Theatre will scatter 2017-2018 shows around metro area

At first sight, the luminous Carolyn Cook appears in a flowing, shimmering white gown and haloed headdress, in the newly created role of an omnipresent Moon. Standing above it all atop a platform on designer Sara Culpepper’s sparse set, she orchestrates and oversees the action — with a little help from another new character, Cupid (Jake Krakovsky), the dart-wielding pixie who stands in for the now-excised Puck.

But as the darkness quickly descends on “Ravished,” the Moon’s glowing smile understandably turns to disapproving frown. The romantic passion and lighthearted antics of the sundry mismatched lovers, forest fairies and “rude mechanicals” in “Midsummer” here unfold with a much more unsavory kinkiness and literal bluntness, enough so to warrant an advisory in the program about “sexually violent content” intended “for mature audiences.”

Aside from Cook’s glamorous getup, in Alan Yeong’s steam punk-inspired costume design, most of the other characters look as though they stepped out of a “Road Warrior” movie. Brent Glenn’s lighting is suitably stark and arresting, casting shadows across the stage or silhouettes of trees against the black curtains lining the back of the set.

Particularly curious in view of its already pared down running time, “Ravished” also features a disproportionate number of superfluous musical interludes — bits and pieces or whole dance routines, choreographed by Jasmine Spells to the pulsating rhythms of several current pop songs and club hits.

Fristoe and Knispel’s energetic and adventurous cast includes a half-dozen or so Emory students, in addition to a few professional actors. Among the former: Jubril Adeagbo (as Theseus), Gabrielle Bodet (Votaress), Julia Byrne (Helena), Amina Dunn (Hermia), Saumya Goel (Hippolyta), Jessica Le-McKeown (Titania), Christian Magby (Demetrius) and Jake Thompson (Lysander).

Among the latter: Joe Sykes cuts a weirdly leering and creepy figure as Oberon; Stephanie Friedman and especially Brad Brinkley are seen to better advantage as Flute and Bottom, whose climactic performance of the play within the play, “Pyramus and Thisbe,” may be the bloodiest yet.

It is a signature of Out of Hand to approach material from far outside and well beyond conventional theatrical boundaries. Most of the company’s projects are originally written and created, as opposed to adaptations or renditions of previously existing works.

In visualizing Shakespeare’s words about the “anguish of a tormented hour” or a “night of solemnities,” the disturbing imagery and psychosexual emphasis of “Ravished” isn’t entirely groundless, even if it is generally off-putting. “The course of true love never did run smooth,” the Moon aptly intones. But when she paraphrases one of Puck’s most famous lines — “If we offend, it is with good will” — you might not buy it.

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Living

Sentara’s Music and Medicine creates a healing duet for patients
Sentara’s Music and Medicine creates a healing duet for patients

NORFOLK, Va. — When the Johnny Cash melody frustrates James Rodriguez, he chuckles, shakes his head and says, “I don’t know.” Tracy Bowdish gently pushes him, taking his hand into hers as she leans closer and sings in bell-clear perfect pitch lyrics from “I Walk the Line.” The goal is to get Rodriguez to find the...
Take care of your savings by taking care of your brain
Take care of your savings by taking care of your brain

Grab a bowl of berries and walk up a steep hill. Now you’re ready to learn three other ways to save your retirement fund. Confused? The advice is simplistic and ignores the devastating financial toll dementia-related expenses often add to a person’s struggle with the disease, but if there are some low-cost and relatively easy ways to delay...
Baby boomers are getting divorced in record numbers

Apparently, baby boomers don’t believe in happily ever after — at least when it comes to marriage. Since 1990, the divorce rate has doubled for U.S. adults 50 years and older, according to government data. This comes at a time when splitting up has actually become less common for the younger crowd. Though younger couples divorce more, their...
Don’t let your mind wander

Have you ever spent half an hour or more frantically looking for your keys? Is there a book that you know is on one of your book shelves, but for some reason you can’t find it? Do you often have to look for a few minutes before you find your parked car? These are fairly common problem, especially as you get older. You can’t just automatically...
Couple takes Alzheimer’s curves as they come
Couple takes Alzheimer’s curves as they come

HIGHLAND PARK, Ill. — Cheryl Levin-Folio can’t anticipate every new milestone of memory loss as she and her husband, Michael Folio, navigate his Alzheimer’s disease. Sometimes quick thinking comes in handy, as it did when Michael forgot one day to take off his clothes before stepping into the shower. Rather than correct her husband...
More Stories