With All Our Tragic, this inventive and acclaimed company takes 32 of the Greek tragedies and boils them down into a vigorously comic smorgasbord of board-treading delight. Patrons can watch this epic presentation in four parts or in one 12-hour-long setting. The day-long event, of course, comes with plenty of breaks and complimentary meals, ultimately creating an exciting communal experience for all involved.
Created by the company’s Founding Artistic Director Sean Graney, over an arduous three-year gestation period, All Our Tragic tells the stories credited to Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides with breathless energy and edgy humor. Graney’s way with a one-liner is pure brilliance and his lengthy script is full of hysterical asides. But, as a director, Graney also keeps the pieces emotionally grounded. Therefore, even the most outrageous moments are filled with contemplative undercurrents by the rambunctiously talented cast.
Fortunately, for those with low attention spans or living under a constant time crunch, each arc tells a full story and is completely satisfying theater onto itself. The first portion concentrates on the often bungling Herakles (friskily passionate Walter Briggs) and his attempts to become a storybook hero. As he strives to prove himself worthy of freeing the chained Prometheus (a downbeat Geoff Button), he often destroys as much as he heals. Intertwined with the stories of a vengeful Médée (a twisted yet sorrowful Dana Omar) and the passionate Phèdre (sharply accented Christine Stulik), this opener is a true winner.
With excellent assistance from Jared Moore (lighting), Chrystle Morman (effects) and Kevin O’Donnell (sound), the production as a whole is landmark theater and not to be missed.
All Our Tragic runs through October 5 at The Den Theatre, 1329 N. Milwaukee, in Chicago. Tickets are $30-$75. Purchasing information and the show’s performance schedule at the-hypocrites.com.
– Brian Kirst