Friday, March 25, 2011

The Emperor Jones

Iron Age Theatre's production of Eugene O'Neill's descent into madness, The Emperor Jones, is in its final weekend.

For those unfamiliar with this classic early modernist play: An escaped criminal turned tyrant flees from his muderous subjects, who hunt him through the dark, mysterious jungle. But the jungle holds more than the former tyrant bargains for: himself.

I love Iron Age's seat-of-the-pants, DIY sensibility (the bamboo that comprises the scenery was harvested from the director's yard, as were the logs for the giant throne). This is a forcefully acted fever-dream of a play, whose hallucinatory visuals (bamboo shoots become giant crocodile jaws), economy of stagecraft lends a visual wit that allows the imagination to fill in the blanks. This is true independent theatre, performed with heart and verve. See this play before it's gone.

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