Prince Max's Trewly Awful Trip to the Desolat Interior | Den Theatre | Theater & Performance | Chicago Reader
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click to enlarge Heather Riordan and Charlee Cotton

Heather Riordan and Charlee Cotton

Rasean Davonte Johnson

Prince Max's Trewly Awful Trip to the Desolat Interior 

When: Mondays, Fridays-Sundays. Continues through May 20 2017
Price: free-$20
redtheater.org
A prince of Prussia paddles the uncharted Missouri River collecting specimens in Ellen Struve’s odd play from Red Theater. The historical Maximilian (1782-1867) was a pioneering naturalist and early visitor to Native American tribes the Mandan and the Hidatsa. His companion, the artist Karl Bodmer, painted some of the most vivid, exacting watercolors of his age. Struve invents a Prince Max (Heather Riordan) who's a tourist, a dandy, and a true believer in scientific progress—but also a precursor to the bad old days of head-measuring anthropology, and Struve never lets us forget it. Bodmer (Charlee Cotton) mopes around the virgin landscape, wishing he could go home. Taking a principled stance against the racism of 19th-century explorers isn't a hard or very interesting thing to do, but the play, a revisionist fiasco, barters its whimsy for armchair sociology early on and never recovers. —Max Maller

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