The Mother | Oracle Theatre | Theater & Performance | Chicago Reader

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When: Mondays, Fridays-Sundays. Continues through May 15 2013

Bertolt Brecht's propagandistic 1932 "learning play" could be subtitled "Collectivism vs. Capitalism 101," but director Max Truax's Oracle Theatre production turns it into an arresting, hypnagogic pageant. Truax puts actors atop five narrowly spaced, room-length tables and seats the audience on low stools at their feet; we bourgeois spectators are sunk while the radicalized proletariat tower heroically above us. The fired-up cast enact the tale of Palagea, the impoverished mother who's awakening to the promise of Bolshevism. While Truax's broad strokes muddy the storytelling and diminish most characters to featureless types, they infuse Brecht's didacticism with harrowing urgency. The cast attack Jonathan Guillen's mournful, anthemic score with blistering precision. —Justin Hayford

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