Argonautika | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader


Writer-director Mary Zimmerman and Lookingglass Theatre made a big splash with their 1990 version of Homer's Odyssey and later turned the stage of the Ivanhoe Theater into a wading pool to retell Ovid's Metamorphoses. Now they've plunged into the waters of Greek myth again with this engrossing evening of theatrical poetry, melding cool whimsy with somber compassion. Based on ancient epic poems, it includes many of the dark details omitted in storybook and film renditions of the saga of Jason and the Argonauts, explorers who traveled to the edge of the world to steal the fabled Golden Fleece. Using a streamlined set, evocative lighting, and simple but expressive puppets to augment the performances of the 14 actor-athletes, the show celebrates the sheer pleasure of theatrical make-believe. But Argonautika also captures the story's somber subtext, in which Jason's quest symbolizes the drive to explore the world within as well as around us, to understand why humans suffer and strive. (See for a full-length review.) a Through 12/23: Tue 6:30 PM, Wed 7:30 PM, Thu 6:30 PM, Fri 7 PM, Sat 3 and 8 PM, Sun 3 PM, Lookingglass Theatre Company, Water Tower Water Works, 821 N. Michigan, 312-337-0665, $30-$58.

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