Edward II | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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Bertolt Brecht's ironic reworking of Christopher Marlowe's bloody tragedy--about a 14th-century English monarch whose devotion to a young male commoner leads to civil war--focuses on the conflict between the state, represented by the noblemen who rebel against the king, and individual will, embodied in Edward's refusal to abdicate even when his cause is lost and he faces torture and death. It's high-stakes, politically charged material. But in Elizabeth Christine Tanner's earnest but uninspired staging for the Bohemian Theatre Ensemble, raw passion plays as sentimental romance, and the horrors Edward endures register as mere discomforts. The actors' declamatory line readings and stiff posturing suggest they're preoccupied with just getting through the verse dialogue without stumbling. --Albert Williams a Through 4/1: Fri-Sat 8 PM, Sun 6 PM, Heartland Studio Theater, 7016 N. Glenwood, 773-791-2393, $20, $18 in advance.

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