The Misanthrope | Court Theatre | Theater & Performance | Chicago Reader
This is a past event.
When: Thursdays-Sundays. Continues through June 9 2013
Price: $45-$65
There are two sets of palettes at work in the new Court Theatre staging of The Misanthrope. One emphasizes black and gold, especially in the exuberantly filigreed costumes created by Jacqueline Firkins. The other is all about flesh tones—deep brown to pink. Erik Hellman stands at the pale end of the spectrum, playing the brutally honest title character, Alceste, at a level of whiteness commonly associated with people of European descent. Practically everybody else onstage goes with darker, Africa-inspired hues. And then there's Grace Gealey as Alceste's too-clever love interest, Celimene. Both her character and her tawny complexion play both sides against the middle. You think I'm kidding, don't you? And rather tastelessly, at that. But no, director Charles Newell actually does appear to have a melanin-based conceit going here. The pattern is too obvious to be anything but deliberate. (Or else weirdly oblivious.) Moliere's decadent 17th-century French aristocrats are uniformly represented by coffee-colored actors—except when it comes to the dissenter in their midst and the woman who's become entangled with him. Continue reading >>

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