The Woman Who Amuses Herself | The Edge Theater | Theater & Performance | Chicago Reader
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click to enlarge Brian Bengtson, Almanya Narula, and Nathan Thompson

Brian Bengtson, Almanya Narula, and Nathan Thompson

Steve Townshend

When: Thursdays-Sundays. Continues through July 24 2016
Price: $20, $15 students and seniors
Victor Lodato, perhaps best known for his 2009 novel Mathilda Savitch, wrote this intriguing drama about the 1911 theft of Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa from the Louvre by Vincenzo Peruggia, an Italian expat who had worked at the museum. Though his intention was to return the Renaissance masterpiece to the Italian people, Peruggia kept the canvas all to himself in his Paris apartment for more than two years—because, according to Lodato's interpretation, he fell under the emotional and spiritual spell of the lady with the mystic smile. (The play's title is a reference to the painting's Italian name, La Gioconda, which means "the happy one.") Lodato presents a wide range of responses to the enigmatic image from characters ranging from Walter Pater to Marcel Duchamp to an elderly Italian peasant who reveres the Mona Lisa as a madonna figure. The play is at its best when focusing on the psychologically erratic Peruggia, compelling played by Nathan Thompson. Idle Muse Theatre Company's fine production, directed by Nathan Pease, also features imaginative visual projections by Laura Wiley. —Albert Williams

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