The Last Two Minutes of the Complete Works of Henrik Ibsen | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

The Last Two Minutes of the Complete Works of Henrik Ibsen 

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Rather than featuring the final 120 seconds of each Ibsen play, this new show conceived and directed by Greg Allen for the Neo-Futurists sometimes consists of summaries of the great dramatist's work and focuses more on final scenes than by-the-clock excerpts. Running the 26 pieces in chronological order, Allen provides irrefutable proof that anyone—well, any genius—can improve as long as he sticks with writing for 55 years. Ibsen's turgid historical epics give way first to the seminal verse drama Peer Gynt and then, even more astonishingly, to the revolutionary A Doll's House, wisely played straight here. But the real crowd-pleasers are the high-concept, low-comedy moments. The strong six-member cast (particularly Steve Walker and Merrie Greenfield in a protracted death scene) keeps the energy high, though like the master himself, the evening winds on a tad too long. Through 3/5: Thu-Sat 8 PM. Neo-Futurarium, 5153 N. Ashland, 773-275-5255. $15; "pay what you can" Thu.

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