Fatelessness | Chopin Theatre | Theater & Performance | Chicago Reader
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click to enlarge Benjamin Holliday Wardell

Benjamin Holliday Wardell

Devron Enarson

When: Thursdays-Sundays. Continues through April 16 2017
Price: $20, $15 students and seniors
Theatre Y director Melissa Lorraine’s intriguing experiment with Imre Kertész’s Noble Prize-winning novel Fatelessness is half brilliant. While we hear Michael Doonan’s prerecorded voice reading a greatly condensed version of the book, which follows bemused, dispassionate 15-year-old Hungarian Jew Gyuri through three Nazi concentration camps, we watch Benjamin Holliday Wardell silently enact a 65-minute yoga routine. The juxtaposition of bodies—Gyuri’s buffeted by chaotic external forces, Wardell’s guided by disciplined internal commands, both contorted to the brink of recognizability—creates provocative tensions that never resolve. Even the unavoidable tedium nicely parallels Gyuri’s languishing in what Kertesz called “the dreary trap of linearity.” But in this adaptation by Andràs Visky and Adam Boncz, Kertész's richly detailed text is stripped to an overly efficient outline, and Doonan’s disgruntled bro persona gives the story an unaccountable peevishness. Wardell’s meticulous work needs a stronger foil. —Justin Hayford

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