Best test of the structural soundness of audience members' backsides

All Our Tragic

The day before I saw the Hypocrites' loose adaptation of all 32 surviving Greek tragedies, I flew back to Chicago from a vacation in Austria. The flight lasted nine hours, the show 12. But although it took significantly more time to get through than it takes to cross the Atlantic, All Our Tragic was no slog—and not just because we were given frequent breaks for trips to the bar and the bathroom. In the hands of writer-director Sean Graney and a tireless 17-member cast, the works of Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides became a vibrant, violent, and surprisingly playful multigenerational saga that only grew richer and more poignant over time. Letting his flair for whiz-bang action and bubblegum-pop dialogue collide with the inexorable destruction in the original plays, Graney gave audiences one unforgettable day of contemplating the seemingly infinite ways that innocence can be lost beyond all hope of recovery. There's good news if you missed it the first time around: the Hypocrites' remount of All Our Tragic runs through August 9.

Honorable mention: the House Theatre of Chicago's The Hammer Trinity, a swords-and-sorcery epic clocking in at a respectable nine hours

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