Death's Dream Kingdom; and The Wasteland | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

Death's Dream Kingdom; and The Wasteland 

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Death's Dream Kingdom and the Wasteland, Adler Danztheatre Project, at Belle Plaine Studio, through April 27. The show starts as we wait in the lobby. We can easily pick out a few actors in Magritte-like garb, but not until one of them says "Let us go then, you and I / When the evening is spread out against the sky" do we become aware that no fewer than 12 of our fellows, including the chemise-clad ladies in the box-office window chirping "Michelangelo," are participants in this 80-minute cross-disciplinary "adaptation of the poems of T.S. Eliot."

The first half of the evening, Death's Dream Kingdom, is spread over this and two other rooms into which we're ushered to share the meek visions of J. Alfred Prufrock. A gang of bullies bursts into a recitation of The Hollow Men, a trio dances coquettishly, and other sequences employ slide projections, silhouettes, shadow play, living statue acrobatics, martial arts, candles, incense, and song. A variety of music selections and other Eliot poems form an aural backdrop seamlessly integrated into the action to produce a single fluid, multisensory experience.

The Wasteland offers fewer opportunities for movement, physical or dramatic, so its players are sometimes reduced to simply acting out the text. But the imagination and industry invested in this production by director Ellyzabeth Adler and Danztheatre Project are impressive.

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