Charenton | Goodman Theatre | Theater & Performance | Chicago Reader
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Cuba's Teatro Buendia follows up on its impressive first Latino Theatre Festival entry, La Visita de la Vieja Dama, with this loose adaptation of Peter Weiss's Marat/Sade. Like its source, the work is set in the Charenton insane asylum, where the Marquis de Sade was institutionalized in the years after the French Revolution. The conceit is that the inmates are performing a play written and directed by Sade that depicts the assassination of his friend Jean-Paul Marat, the radical journalist whose essays helped drive the revolution. The potential power of the play-within-a-play lies in the fusion of the inmate-actors' personalities with those of the characters they portray. But Flora Lauten's staging, though visually striking, relies too much on grotesquerie. I was always conscious of watching actors pretending to be lunatics playing historical characters. Still, it's fascinating to watch a Cuban theater company perform a work about a people's revolution that degenerated into tyranny. --Albert Williams

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