Bartleby the Scrivener | Theater & Performance | Chicago Reader
This is a past event.
When: Thursdays-Sundays. Continues through June 24 2012
Price: $18-$30
As a malcontent teenager, I spun elaborate fantasies of refusal after reading the Herman Melville short story on which this delightful new adaptation is based. The famous tag line, "I would prefer not to," sums up all of the story's humor and despair in an implacable, universal retort. Organic Theater plays up Melville's humor, often to the point of slapstick, but never loses the other deep threads running through the tale. The cast gels well under Alexander Gelman's direction, the more caricatured bits anchored by Richard Gross's mild, enigmatic Bartleby. When vaudeville-style routines (elaborate physical confusion over hats or stacks of paper) don't entirely succeed, at least they have the good grace not to fail. Alas, it's probably a sign of looming middle age that I now sympathize more with Bryan Wakefield's excellent, beleaguered narrator than with obstinate Bartleby. —Keith Griffith


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