Romulus | Oracle Theatre | Theater & Performance | Chicago Reader
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When: Mondays, Fridays-Sundays. Continues through Nov. 22 2014
In adapting Friedrich Dürrenmatt's 1950 comic political allegory, Gore Vidal tries to add emotional complexity to the play's emblematic characters. Given Dürrenmatt's successful privileging of philosophy over psychology, it's a wasted effort, and one director Kasey Foster works to undo. Here the antiquated court of Romulus, last emperor of Rome, are literally turning into statues, declaiming their lines while striking empty heroic poses. Meanwhile a seemingly indifferent Romulus tends his chickens while his empire collapses. The approach amplifies Dürrenmatt's satire but compromises the more serious sections during the play's second half. Luckily the climactic confrontation between Romulus and the invading Goths delivers enough delicious irony to carry the day. —Justin Hayford
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