The Dark Ages: Otho the Great | Unity Evangelical Lutheran Church | Theater & Performance | Chicago Reader
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click to enlarge Jason Lacombe, Nick Bryant, Douglas Bryan Bean, and Krista Leland

Jason Lacombe, Nick Bryant, Douglas Bryan Bean, and Krista Leland

Frank Farrell

When: Fridays, Saturdays. Continues through June 25 2016
Price: $10-$15
www.facebook.com/othothegreat
Talk about a deep cut. Romantic poet John Keats's only full-length play didn't make waves in his lifetime and hasn't in the two centuries since, and it's easy to see why. Frank Farrell brings this academic curiosity about Ludolph, son of German king Otto I, to life in an admirably ambitious production in a church chancel. Audiences who lack a master's degree in position jostling among medieval blue bloods won't have much to hang their interest on—only a handful of actors in the double-digit-size cast have a firm grasp of Keats's iambic pentameter, and just about every line is either melodramatically sneered or underdelivered. Peculiar blocking choices, including liberal use of the balcony surrounding the pews, and inconsistent projection render some of the most vital plot points inscrutable. —Dan Jakes

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