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The story, based on Margaret Atwood’s award-winning dystopian novel of the same name, is engrossing and sadly, still timely. Joe Stollenwerk’s adaptation of the novel is focused, well-balanced and smartly-written. It packs quite an emotional punch, in part, due to how subtly the story pulls you in.
Under the strong direction of Brian Isaac Phillips, Corrine Mohlenhoff’s performance as Offred is totally engaging and showcases her versatility. The character is starkly honest, strong yet vulnerable, and easily relate-able. Offred’s hopes and fears become the audience’s hopes and fears for her, as they hang on every word.
Noelle Wedig’s costume design is near perfect, a great blend of puritan and militaristic influences. Andrew Hungerford’s simple, yet well-thought set design, under the scenic charge of Sarah Beth Hall, invokes a sense of lost grandeur, not due to the passing of time, but the indifference of an occupying force. His lighting design imparts both location and emotion, from the stark fluorescents of the medical facility to the ominous and foreboding “wall.” Doug Borntrager’s sound design does much to add the atmosphere of the production, and for me, some of the more quiet sound effects had the biggest payoff. Rounding out the production team are technical director Nick Koehike and stage manager Kristen Ruthemeyer, who’s hard work are major contributors to the synergistic-quality of this production.
This is moving and powerful theater. The audience’s opening night standing ovation is sure to be the first of many. It will sell out. And with Know’s lower-than-the-norm ticket price and Welcome Experiment Wednesdays, there is no excuse to miss it. You won’t be sorry.
My rating: 4.75 out of 5
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