Kabuki Lady Macbeth | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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Kabuki Lady Macbeth


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Kabuki actors often begin their training in this demanding art form as young children. So it's no surprise that casting conventional Chicago actors, only a few of whom have performed in American Kabuki shows, in Shozo Sato's unsparingly traditional production results in a handsome but shallow evening. The cast's slow, singsong speech, stylized movements, and generally stony expressions may adhere to convention but convey little feeling or narrative sense, and Sato's minimalist design doesn't provide images resonant enough to compensate. Most curious of all, playwright Karen Sunde's reworking of Shakespeare's script purports to tell the tale from Lady Macbeth's point of view yet makes her incidental by the middle of the second act. Still, this long, tedious production fails largely because of a laudable choice Sato made: he refused to simplify or dumb down an exacting theatrical style. Through 5/1: Tue-Fri 7:30 PM, Sat 2 and 7:30 PM, Sun 2 PM. Wed 4/20 and 4/27, 2 and 7:30 PM. Sun 4/10, 3:30 PM only. Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Navy Pier, 800 E. Grand, 312-595-5600 (TTY 312-595-5699). $38-$48.

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