Mustapha's Bride | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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Mustapha's Bride

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In Michael Sokoloff's parable, which pays tribute to Jean Genet's prison-yard cosmos, two jailbirds seek to enslave a third by invoking the specter of Mustapha. Never seen during the play, he's the ruler of this brutal kingdom behind bars and a symbol of all the threats ever used by the ruthless to intimidate the weak. The three players in this staging by the Aggravated Assault Ensemble, based in Iowa City, stumbled a bit on opening night, and their late-night production is playing amid the scenery for another show in the same space. But intense physical performances--Sokoloff was renowned as a fight choreographer when he lived in Chicago several years ago--and the script's Dionysian imagery make the play much more than a sordid tale. This is a riveting study of the psychology of exploitation. Through 12/18: Fri-Sat 10:45 PM. National Pastime Theater, 4139 N. Broadway, 773-327-7077. $12.

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