Chicago Theatre Review
As the opening production of Steppenwolf’s fifth annual Garage Rep, this movement-based theatrical group presents a performance piece created entirely by its eight-member ensemble and directed by Thom Pasculli, inspired by the myth of Dionysus and featuring text by prolific playwright Charles L. Mee. The piece, which has a primal, ritualistic quality and is tinged with anachronistically modern moments begins with an homage to a living statue of the god of wine and revelry. Patrons are invited to leave offerings of lit candles and floral bouquets at his feet. Mythical creatures begin roaming the dimly-lit forest of silk draperies and sound effects, leading to a collage featuring several overlapping scenes. Some moments are erotic, some are brutal and assault the senses mercilessly. The company works together “matching visible strength with invisible force.” The cumulative effect is not so much the telling of a story but an exploration of passion and ribaldry inspired by the myth of this Greek god of excess and pleasure.
Pasculli has created a monumental work that, while it may not appeal to everyone, is admirable and filled with beauty. His company consists of eight strong performers who shine equally during various moments of personal and group artistry. Particular standouts include Cooper Forsman, Nigel Brown and Dana Murphy, but the energy generated and work created by this process-oriented ensemble is uniformly terrific, well-executed and worth the hour spent in their company.
Reviewed by Colin Douglas
Presented February 14-April 20 by Walkabout Theater Company at the Steppenwolf Garage, 1624 N. Halsted Street, Chicago, as part of their Garage Rep series.
Tickets can be purchased through by calling Audience Services at 312-335-1650 or by going to www.steppenwolf.org.
Additional information about this and other area productions can be found by visiting www.theatreinchicago.com.