Onstage: The Handmaid's Tale

In the near future, what’s left of the United States has become the Republic of Gilead, a nation oppressively governed by strictly religious principles.

click to enlarge The Handmaid's Tale at Know Theatre
The Handmaid's Tale at Know Theatre

Joe Stollenwerk lives in Bloomington, Ind., where he’s pursuing a doctorate in theater at Indiana University. He was part of the Cincinnati theater scene for more than a decade as a performer and the original artistic director of the Ovation Theatre Company, which shut down in 2008. He worked with lots of performers, including Cincinnati Shakespeare Company veteran Corinne Mohlenhoff. They clicked on many levels. 


They worked together closely on a script he wrote for a one-woman show, conceived with her in mind: an adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s 1985 dystopian novel, The Handmaid’s Tale. It has been presented briefly to Cincinnati audiences in the past, but Know Theatre will give it a full production for a month-long run opening on Jan. 23. Mohlenhoff will perform, and her husband, Cincy Shakes Artistic Director Brian Isaac Phillips, is directing. 

Here’s the story: In the near future, what’s left of the United States has become the Republic of Gilead, a nation oppressively governed by strictly religious principles. Like many women in Gilead, Offred (Mohlenhoff’s role) has had her name and family taken from her and been forced to become a Handmaid, a vessel for population growth, valued only for her viable ovaries. Controlled by the strict regime, she has memories of life before the revolution and struggles to maintain her individuality and personhood.

Through Feb. 21. $20; $10 rush. Know Theatre, 1120 Jackson St., Over-the-Rhine, knowtheatre.com.

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