Best Act of Theatrical Piracy
The people running Rogue Theatre announced early on that they were interested in text-based drama, not theatrical glitz, and they've taken to plopping short stories and poems right on stage as if they belonged there. Cynthia Meier's adaptation of James Joyce's short story The Dead was an especially brave, difficult and rewarding project last March. Joyce's prose tends to tell rather than show; Meier and the large cast managed to remain remarkably true to the original narrative while at the same time putting on a compelling show. Yes, a show, with live musicians on stage (including the Irish band Round the House), social dancing and a bit of singing. Every added element (despite the music, this was not a musical) evocatively moved the story to, well, the place near the end where it actually started to become a story. With a cast headed by the superb J. Andrew McGrath and Amy Almquist, Rogue stole everything that was best from the Joyce original, added its own neat embellishments and brought to the stage two hours of exquisite, frustrated desire.