War and Peace: A Dance-Theater Short | Constellation | Dance | Chicago Reader

War and Peace: A Dance-Theater Short Member Picks New Review (Theater and Comedy) The Short List (Theater) Closing (Theater and Galleries)

When: Thursdays-Sundays. Continues through May 22 2011

It takes ambition rivaling Tolstoy's to try to pack his gargantuan novel into an hour-long show. But adapter/director Jim Manganello charges fearlessly into the task, distilling the epic down to a highly creative series of acted, narrated, danced, fought, and sung snapshots. War predominates over peace, but brief excursions into the domestic are entertaining: society doyenne Anna Pavlovna takes ridiculous pride in her French canapes, while a pompous Napoleon presides over his bath or ruthlessly attacks an apple. The war scenes succinctly and movingly express Tolstoy’s pacifism, especially one in which four guys sing the 1950 gospel tune "Jesus Hits Like the Atom Bomb." The piece could use still more distillation, and with each of the five actors playing several roles, things can get confusing. But as a glorious mess, it's brilliant. --Laura Molzahn

Price: $15

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