The Mandrake Closing (Theater and Galleries) Recommended The Short List (Theater)

When: Thursdays-Sundays. Continues through May 24 2011

If The Prince expresses Niccolo Machiavelli's profound understanding of political intrigue, this 1518 farce demonstrates his expertise with the sexual kind. Built on classic commedia situations and types, The Mandrake follows ardent young Callimacho and his fixer, Ligurio, as they attempt not only to cuckold a fatuous lawyer but to make him their accomplice in the endeavor. It's a clever plan, and director Steve Scott might've got some laughs out of playing it straight. Instead, he subverts Machiavelli's already subversive text, creating an arena in which the meaning of every line and action is up for grabs. The result is an exhausting, hilarious show with a deep undertow of what might be called sublime cynicism--a beautiful ugliness that's supremely Machiavellian in spirit. --Tony Adler

Price: $15-$30

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