The Two Gentlemen of Verona | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

The Two Gentlemen of Verona 

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THE TWO GENTLEMEN OF VERONA, Tripaway Theatre. The proverb claims "two planks and a passion" are the minimum needed for a play, but Tripaway Theatre's production of Shakespeare's comedy lacks even the planks. Performed in Lincoln Park with only a makeshift banner separating the stage from the audience and a sheet "hiding" the dressing room, this is grassroots theater at its grassiest.

But even outdoor theater must be theater, and to that end the Tripaway players adopt a deliberately enunciated, moderately paced delivery. The results may not be subtle, but the mostly young actors maintain their audibility and intelligibility, never losing continuity (though Henry Andrew Caporoso inadvertently sabotages Proteus's pivotal speech with pauses that may be subtextual but sound suspiciously like memory lapses). Lynn Marie demonstrates some agile oral interpretation as the indecisive Julia, and Karen Weinberg's Lance and Joe Gold's Speed generate some nice tag-team chemistry; director Karin Shook makes the most of the pastoral setting, with much action occurring between, around, and up in the trees.

Two intermissionless hours is a long time to sit still and pay attention on a sultry afternoon, however: the show's running time could be trimmed, though not by a more hasty delivery. But in a summer of similarly humble yet ambitious projects, Tripaway's provides a pleasant, low-cost alternative.

--Mary Shen Barnidge

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