Manuscript Found in Saragossa | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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Manuscript Found in Saragossa

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What was adapter-director Christine Mary Dunford thinking? Jan Potocki's early-19th-century picaresque novel, which contains some 35 interlocking stories, is way too cumbersome to make a great play even when chopped down. True, it has some of the oriental themes of Lookingglass classics like Arabian Nights. But instead of taking flight into the supernatural, this adaptation remains mired in the prosaic: servants, cups of wine, gibbeted corpses, neglectful parents. There's so much mirroring and repetition built into the source that even the lesbian-sister harem girls get old. Despite gorgeous costumes and makeup and committed performances by expert players, Dunford's production never lifts off the polished wood of an ingenious set that creaks and slopes like a ship's deck. Through 12/11: Wed 7:30 PM, Thu 6:30 PM, Fri 7:30 PM, Sat 3 and 8 PM, Sun 3 PM. Thu 11/17, 2 and 6:30 PM. No show Sat 11/19 and Thu 11/24. Lookingglass Theatre Company, Water Tower Water Works, 821 N. Michigan, 312-337-0665. $30-$58.

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