Bartleby the Scrivener | Mary-Arrchie Theatre Company | Theater & Performance | Chicago Reader

Bartleby the Scrivener Closing (Theater and Galleries) The Short List (Theater)

When: 2009

R.L. Lane's 2005 stage adaptation is nearly as uneventful as Herman Melville's 1853 novella, in which a copyist essentially opts out of his own life by politely but constantly asserting, "I would prefer not to." Existentialists, Marxists, psychologists, and many others have tried to explain and claim Bartleby, but the story's odd attraction lies in its stubborn mystery. Lane mostly respects Melville's restraint, but he does add a few dramatic touches, including a fleshed-out, more emotional ending. In fact, in Richard Cotovsky's staging, Bartleby's final, wordless interaction with his employer, Standard, almost makes the preceding 80 minutes worthwhile. Almost. This production--particularly Todd Lahrman's performance as Standard--doesn't quite hit the depths or comic heights needed to bring Bartleby to life onstage. --Laura Molzahn

Price: $18-$22


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