Hallucinating in Romania | Theater Review | Chicago Reader

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Hallucinating in Romania

Trap Door Theatre's The Word Progress on My Mother's Lips Doesn't Ring True

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Matei Vişniec's plays were banned under the communist regime in his native Romania. These days they're among the most produced there, and this searing, hallucinatory 2005 work shows why. Refugees with slippery post-Balkan-war allegiances return to their decimated village to start new lives. The town stands beside a forest fed on a century's accumulation of scrambled human bones, making one mother's attempt to find her dead son's body in a wheelbarrow full of dirt seem almost sensible. Joyce Nettles's English translation presents a series of disjointed, harrowing, irreducible images, staged with sculptural vividness by director István Szabó K. The intermissionless, 90-minute Trap Door Theatre production is relentlessly provocative, impossibly beautiful, and apt to haunt you long after it ends.

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