Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Theater of Religion and A Trio of Strong Voices & Songs

Legendary British director (stage, screen, and opera) Peter Brook has had a long (63 years) career. Over the 6+ decades, he has created alternative worlds for Shakespearean masterpieces, popularized "Marat/Sade", staged and then filmed a 9-hour adaptation of the Indian epic poem "Mahabharata", brought "Lord of the Flies" to the screen and written several well-received books on theater and acting.

Brook is in the midst of a short tour of colleges and universities presenting "The Grand Inquisitor" and he's coming to Wesleyan this weekend. The two-person play is based on Marie-Helene Estienne's adaptation of a long speech from Fyodor Dostoyevsky's "The Brothers Karamazov." In the story, Christ has returned in the midst of the Spanish Inquisition and, when he is recognized by the Cardinal Grand Inquisitor, is thrown into jail. The title character, played by Bruce Myers (pictured above), questions Christ's return, saying he will only create confusion among the believers. The Grand Inquisitor tells him that, over the centuries, his radical teachings have been tempered and his reappearance could the ruin the "good name" the Church has created for him. Over the course of the monologue (the second actor is a passive observer until the end), one hears how a myth is created and how that myth begat the organized religion which begat an infrastructure that became rigid and unbending.

Performances are 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday nights (10/10 & 11) and take place in the CFA Theater. For ticket information, call 860-685-3355.

If the Peter Brook play sounds a bit too "heavy", one should opt to head for The Buttonwood Tree (at least, on Friday evening) and the 3 fine ladies who make up "Lucky 13" will serenade you. Marci Geller, Susan DeVita and Cathy Kreger sing songs with hummable melodies, sweet harmonies and provocative topics. Folk influences blend with rock rhythms, "pop" sensibilities, a hint of jazz, touches of humor and righteous indignation makes for an evening of great entertainment. The trio's first CD was issued this summer and it's quite enjoyable (pretty rock-ish, too.)

The show starts at 8 p.m. For more information, call 860-347-4957.

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