As the actors enter into the space that surrounds them, and we are transported into world that's awaiting the blood shed to come. And boy is there blood! The stage, designed by T. Burch and M. Defabo is a clean tiled aisle that two nurses (S. Jackson and S. Matesky) with subtle ceremony, mop clean the gore the great kings and queens of tragedy leave behind them. Whether they know of the horror to come or are simply indifferent to the lives of such royals is unknown.
There was a certain humorous irony to the world created. The mopping of blood spoke well to the theme of honor surrounding the play. The hospital setting also sends a chill of unspoken terror. The corpse can be removed, and the stain it leaves can be scrubbed away, as if it were never there.
The day/the complete works of Sophocles is broken up into three parts. We begin with Honor Lost which includes "Oedipus" "In Trachis" and "In Colonus." Then we eat falafuls! Then Honor Found, including "Philoktetes" and "Ajax." The two works blend and intertwine perfectly making it a smooth second act. Then a cigarette. Honor Abandoned, "Elektra" and lastly "Antigone," displaying a powerhouse grouping of females. The entire event takes up more then a couple hours. This team makes Sophocles seam like no time at all. In fact, fear of losing their audience's attention might have worked against them. The experience could have been another thirty minutes longer. The script was strong, and the cast was captivating enough to make it so. K. O'Donnell's music direction was abrupt, always welcome, and often needed. R. Bourque's violence was both horrifying, entrancing, and often made magical with the hand of J. Moore's lighting. That inaudible hum began to ring from the audience, with wanting to gorge on more.
The evening performs with haste. Moments can be sped through, and the audience is left with little time to mourn. This is better of course then the audience silently praying for the thing to freaking end. Every member in this cast give great performances. And rotate from character to character with remarkable ease. Some propelled be the play's velocity begin strong and large, leaving themselves with little to go, but every one finds a moment to not only rip out your heart but slowly remove your intestants too. It is a great affect as the corpses stack and a multi generational war amongst one incestuous family draws to a close. It is here where Sophocles' characters show their contemporary audience true tragedy.
"Sophocles: Seven Sicknesses" Based on Sophocles' seven surviving texts, adapted by Sean Graney performs September 16th - October 23rd; Fridays and Saturdays at 7pm, Sundays at 3pm. No performance: October 1st or October 15th. Added performance: Monday, October 10th at 7pm @ The Chopin Theater 1543 W Division St. Chicago IL. Admission: $36 (all tickets, meal included) www.the-hypocrites.com or 773-989-7352
Cast: Erin Barlow, Ryan Bourqe, Walter Briggs, Geoff Button, Tien Doman, Lindsey Gavel, Sarah Jackson, Maximillian Lapine, Shannon Matesky, Robert McLean, Zeke Sulkes, and Jeff Trainor
Production Staff: Sean Graney (director); Miranda Anderson (stage manager); Kevin O'Donnell (music director); Stephen Ptacek (sound designer); Tom Burch and Maria DeFabo (scenic designer); Alison Siple (costume designer); Jared Moore (lighting designer); Maria Defabo (properties designer); Ryan Bourque (fight choreographer); Mary Williamson and Christine Conley (make up/ gore design); Kristina Herne (mask design); Darcy McGill (ast. director)
Reviewed by: Michael Monteiro