My Affair with Lady Macbeth | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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My Affair with Lady Macbeth


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MY AFFAIR WITH LADY MACBETH, Reverie Theatre Company, at Stage Left Theatre. In Chris Pomeroy's new play, the mayor of an economically depressed village has kept his office for 19 years by sponsoring musical-theater performances by touring companies, who arrive annually to boost the town's morale. But this year the mayor disappears after hiring a husband and wife to perform their adaptation of Shakespeare's Macbeth. Meanwhile the mayor's son pines for the traveling troupe's fairer half.

You wouldn't expect anything bad to happen in a place with businesses like Tevye's Hardware and Camelot Groceries. But gradually the play shifts from wholesome farce to introspective tragedy. A silly duel fought with patently fake swords ends with an innocent bystander stabbed. The boy doesn't get the girl, and nobody lives happily ever after.

Was the yearly entertainment a magic rite that kept the town from despair? Did the mayor's departure abandon the residents to a realistic assessment of their lives? Pomeroy seems uncertain how to resolve such questions, making for some conceptually wobbly moments. But poignant work by an intensely committed cast under the direction of Scott Hamilton Westerman makes for an engaging if puzzling evening.

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