Spoon River | Trap Door Theatre | Theater & Performance | Chicago Reader

Spoon River The Short List (Theater) Closing (Theater and Galleries)

When: Wednesdays-Saturdays. Continues through April 12 2014

As in Our Town, rows of chairs on an otherwise bare stage represent a cemetery in this adaptation of Edgar Lee Masters’s Spoon River Anthology, a 1915 collection of free-verse epitaphs revealing the secrets, sins, resentments, and regrets of villagers in a fictional small town in Illinois. Many of the book’s most memorable characters are here, including underappreciated poet Minerva Jones, old-maid schoolmarm Emily Sparks, and inept abortionist Doc Meyers. But as they take turns delivering monologues, the cast of Benevolent Theatre’s production don’t do the townsfolk justice, turning in heavy-handed, self-consciously quirky performances lacking depth and subtlety. Worse, they mug like mad even when they don’t have the floor, drawing focus from the person we’re supposed to be listening to. —Zac Thompson

Price: $25

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