Prometheus Bound remains inert | Theater Review | Chicago Reader

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Prometheus Bound remains inert

The eponymous Prometheus is seen not so much as standing for anything as he is standing, basta.


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Prometheus, impaled forever on a rock for tipping humanity off about fire and freedom, has stood since antiquity for the unstoppable triumph of reason over religious or cultural orthodoxy and raw power. In more recent, radical circles, he has stood for the spirit of iconoclasm itself, as noble as he is fierce. However, in this pious new adaptation from the Greek language by renowned classicist Nicholas Rudall, directed by Terry McCabe, Prometheus is seen not so much as standing for anything as he is standing, basta. Because for almost the entirety of City Lit Theater's 85-minute performance, Mark Pracht is entirely stationary. I'm talking full-frontal Vitruvian nailedness at center stage, baby. Oh yeah.

This could have been hilarious if it were allowed to be. In general a brutal yammerer under the ridiculous constraints of his part, Pracht is winning when he allows himself a little disrespectful jab in the ribs at Aeschylus for writing him into this mess. I mean, come on: Pracht stands before us covered in blood for practically the whole play with the head of a humongous styrofoam bolt protruding from his chest. Puppet deities—the hideous mug of Brute Force for one, a sort of Terry Gilliam meets Dragon Ball Z monstrosity—parade into view and browbeat him. A chorus of ladies on a platform, the Oceanids, mimed onstage by puppeteers, coo to him about divine order and human law over piped-in MIDI flutes. Von Orthal Puppets' pesky airborne Hermes lends the one glimmer of charm to this otherwise painfully unspectacular outing.   v

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