Amphitryon 38 | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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Amphitryon 38


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Amphitryon 38, TinFish Theatre. Long before French dramatist Jean Giraudoux laid his hands on the myth of Amphitryon, Sophocles, Euripides, Moliere, von Kleist, and a host of other playwrights used it as a source. In a canny move, Giraudoux called his 1929 retelling Amphitryon 38, both distinguishing his script from the 37 earlier versions and establishing the modern stamp he was giving the classic myth.

While Giraudoux's adaptation borrows heavily from Plautus, his cynical take on the story is unique: he transforms the seduction of virtuous Alkmena at the hands of Jupiter into a biting satire of lust and desire. Director Nate White (who also plays the divine rapist Jupiter) does an admirable job of making the work accessible, though history has blunted some of Giraudoux's observations. And the play is a refreshing change of pace for TinFish, which normally stages classical Greek comedies and tragedies.

What's absent is "the rhythm of human life," as Mercury calls it here. Broad archetypal performances communicate a sense of what transpires when men walk among gods but not the infinitely more intriguing reverse.

--Nick Green

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