Theatre of Moscow Southwest
Last seen here in 1996, Russia's Theatre of Moscow Southwest returns this week to the University of Illinois at Chicago, whose theater department has a long-established exchange program with the foreign troupe. Known for producing visually striking, dramatically intense shows on a tight budget, the Muscovites specialize in Russian theater and the works of Shakespeare, performing in Russian (with simultaneous English translation available). Their two-week residency will feature an ambitious repertory package that includes The Lower Depths, Maksim Gorky's classic portrait of a group of social outcasts; The Master and Margarita, adapted by artistic director Valery Beliakovitch from novelist Mikhail Bulgakov's once-suppressed satire of Soviet political corruption; and a "pop-art, postmodern" rendition of Shakespeare's romantic comedy A Midsummer Night's Dream. But perhaps the most interesting item on the agenda is a bilingual performance of Romeo and Juliet, in which the Russian actors will play the Montague clan while UIC students portray the rival Capulets. This one-nighter is a benefit to raise funds for the exchange program, which later this year will send the UIC folks to Russia with their own production of Romeo and Juliet (seen here last fall). University of Illinois at Chicago, UIC Theater, 1044 W. Harrison, 312-996-2939. March 5 through 15: see listings for schedules and prices of individual plays. --Albert Williams
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): The Master and Margarita theater still.