Saturday, October 04, 2008

Coriolanus at OSF

Stunning. Went like the wind, despite being talky and political. Laird Williamson directs with energy -- in the round, actors popping up from the cellar, all four voms, running through the crime-scene-taped-off back rows right behind your neck. First time I felt the tragedy of it all -- Coriolanus caught between extreme patriotism and extreme pride, Menenius (Richard Elmore, perhaps joshing too much but still eye-catching) as the father-figure (where IS Coriolanus' dad?) -- the populace, stupid and wavering, bending first one way then the next. We're in a quasi-contemporary, militaristic society: laptops and cell phones, punk militias, vaguely '30s Fascist in its look. The tribunes sway the people, the people allow themselves to be swayed. When's the last time, though, that America had a military hero with magnetism and extreme values? MacArthur? Danforth Comins in the title role as a kind of hyper-articulate, hyper-patriotic and proud RoboCop.
(photo of is Richard Elmore as Menenius, with his back to us, pleading in Act 5 for Coriolanus [Danforth Comins, standing above, with Michael Elich as Aufidius] not to attack and destroy Rome)

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