The Illiad | A Red Orchid Theatre | Theater & Performance | Chicago Reader

The Illiad Member Picks The Short List (Theater) Closing (Theater and Galleries)

When: Thursdays-Sundays. Continues through Jan. 2 2011

I bet Bertolt Brecht would've loved this show. Staging Homer's epic about the siege of Troy with elementary- and middle-school girls playing characters like Agamemnon, Achilles, and Odysseus is about as verfremdungseffekt as it gets. The conceit makes for lots of intentionally silly moments, as when tiny Nicole Rudakova's Paris opens his mouth for the first time and, well, talks like a girl--but it also provides a simple, often powerful metaphor for both the barbarity of war and the savagery of gender roles. By the time Hector critiques Patroclus's attempt to impersonate him, saying, "You're just a girl playing dress-up," the line doesn't seem so funny. Steve Wilson's staging of Craig Wright's script is low on production values, and the performers are mostly pretty green, but the 70-minute piece is never anything less than a fascinating experiment. --Tony Adler

Price: $15-$30