The People's Drum Circle Pandora | Blue Theatre | Theater & Performance | Chicago Reader

The People's Drum Circle Pandora Free The Short List (Theater) Closing (Theater and Galleries)

When: Fridays-Sundays. Continues through Sept. 19 2010

Conceived and directed by Andrew Park, this Quest Theatre Ensemble musical deploys simple percussion, songs, and props-cum-puppets reminiscent of legendary street theaters like the San Francisco Mime Troupe to reimagine the Eve of Greek myth, Pandora. In place of the foolish woman whose curiosity unleashed human suffering, Park gives us a heroine willing to face the evils of poverty, environmental degradation, and violence that everyone else wants to ignore. The intention can be considered noble, and the stagecraft is breathtaking at times--especially when it comes to those puppets by Megan Hovany. But the message is reductive, self-righteous, given to magical thinking (oil derricks give way to wind turbines as if they were equivalent, soldiers lay down their arms), and--surprisingly, given the do-gooder sensibilities of the thing--tinged with us-them anger. Worse, the audience is manipulated into buying in to that message: instruments are distributed at the start, we get a primer on how and when to use them, and then we're expected to be part of the "drum circle," helping to tell the story before we've found out what it is. By the end of this strange inversion of Brechtian principles, I felt used. --Tony Adler

Price: donations accepted

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