Enter the Body

Listening Library. Mar. 2023. 423p. $38. ISBN 9780593663448.
Gr 9 Up–“I love Shakespeare,” McCullough points out in her author’s note, but “he was far from infallible. There is much to criticize in his plays.” Reminiscent of Caryl Churchill’s iconic drama, Top Girls, McCullough spotlights four of the Bard’s best-known dead teen girls—Juliet (13), Ophelia (15), Cordelia (17), and Lavinia (19), who was mutilated into eternal silence and still can’t speak here, but McCullough ensures she’s heard. The setting is “the trap room beneath all the stages, anywhere.” McCullough herself directs, enabling her characters, explicating scenes for her audiences. Lohman is an emotional, energetic Juliet, a pawn in an unforgiving family feud; Villarreal a soft, lyrical Ophelia misled by fickle Hamlet; Annie Q a wise-beyond-her-years Cordelia fatally betrayed by her own father and sisters.
VERDICT An undeniably powerful quartet delivers a reclamatory, empowering performance.

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