Arts & Culture » Comedy Critic's Choice

500 Clown Macbeth

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The three performers in 500 Clown Macbeth--Adrian Danzig, Paul Kalina, and Molly Brennan--have all done good work elsewhere, especially Danzig in Lookingglass Theatre's highly athletic 1999 production of The Baron in the Trees. But nothing they've accomplished alone has matched the fearless work they do together in this smart, hilarious show, based on the premise that three fools are trying to perform Macbeth without costumes, a proper set, or full knowledge of the script. Thrown into a Keaton-esque universe, they must deal with uncooperative props and set pieces, and small dramatic gestures quickly devolve into dangerous stunts. In one sequence, all three find themselves climbing around a rickety scaffold trying to retrieve a crown hanging from the rafters. But through all their travails, they never quite abandon the hope of telling the story of the Scottish warrior. And whereas in traditional clowning women are usually relegated to the sidelines and/or forced to play the sweet ingenue, in this show off-Loop veteran Brennan shares the risks and laughter as the three kick, claw, fight, tumble, and bicker their way through this highly abstract and eccentric version of Shakespeare's play. Lots of people do physical comedy these days, but few do it with this kind of precision, power, and intelligence. Chopin Theatre, 1543 W. Division, 312-697-0723. Through May 11: Fridays-Saturdays, 8 and 11 PM. $15.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Stephen Lee Ashmore.

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