The Misanthrope | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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The Misanthrope

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Nearly devoid of action and packed with long, mildly witty speeches, Moliere's classic couldn't be less in tune with the expectations of contemporary American audiences. Yet companies keep trying to draw them in with modern versions of the crabby 17th-century French aristocrat. The latest comes from Bruised Orange Theater Company, whose rendition is only a little worse than the other attempts I've seen. Shifting the action to Chicago today eliminates the need for elaborate historical costumes, but it also leads to plenty of jarring anachronisms, especially when characters refer to the king and his court. More troubling are the many clueless performances, which slow the pace and turn even the nicest passages in Ranjit Bolt's ear-pleasing translation into doggerel. Through 2/5: Thu-Sun 8 PM, Prop Thtr, 3502-4 N. Elston, 773-539-7838, $20, industry nights Thu 1/12 and 1/26, two for one Sun 1/22.

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