Woyzeck | Oracle Theatre | Theater & Performance | Chicago Reader
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When: Mondays, Fridays-Sundays. Continues through May 21 2011
Max Truax's knack for creating epic images in cramped spaces both elevates and undermines his take on Georg Buchner's 1837 protomodernist masterpiece. Left unfinished when Buchner died at 23, Woyzeck follows the title soldier through a process of dehumanization that climaxes when he slashes his prostitute girlfriend in a jealous rage. Truax either plants his actors at the top of a highly raked stage--from which they seem perpetually in danger of plummeting--or keeps them corralled in the semi-darkness below it, where they crouch like caged animals and even perform a creepy, sexy dance entirely on their knees. The show is an 85-minute visual feast, but the script's nuanced psychological truths are flattened under Truax's unrelenting, ultimately exhausting stylization. --Justin Hayford



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