Don Juan in Hell | McKaw Theater | Theater & Performance | Chicago Reader

Don Juan in Hell Member Picks The Short List (Theater) Recommended Closing (Theater and Galleries)

When: Fridays-Sundays. Continues through June 28 2015

George Bernard Shaw's 90-minute one-act—written between 1900 and 1903 as a dream sequence for his much longer play Man and Superman—imagines an encounter in the afterlife between the damned spirits of legendary Spanish libertine Don Juan; Dona Ana, a noblewoman he once tried to seduce; and her father, a military officer whom Don Juan killed in a duel. Joining them is their avuncular host, the Devil himself. Inspired by (and filled with allusions to) Mozart's opera Don Giovanni, Shaw's comedy is a simultaneously playful and profound philosophical debate touching on such themes as honor, duty, morality, and the purpose of life—which Shaw saw as a progressive force always driving humanity closer and closer to an ultimately elusive perfection. Under the direction of Kerstin Broockmann and Dan Foss, the cast of Rogue Theater's simple, bare-bones black-box staging—Nate White (Don Juan), Nellie Ognacevic (Dona Ana), Mark Habert (her father), and Lew Wallace (the Devil)—handle Shaw's dense, richly sculpted text with aplomb, respecting the material's verbal elegance while never succumbing to arch attitude. This production feels and sounds exactly as it should: like four extremely intelligent and opinionated people having a spirited argument, taking delight in their quicksilver exchanges even as they passionately push their points of view. And while some of the underlying assumptions about male-female relations and marriage are certainly antiquated, Shaw's observations about mankind's penchant for hypocrisy and self-destruction in the name of ideology and religion are perhaps more resonant now than ever. —Albert Williams

Price: $15, $10 students and seniors


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