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Thursday, December 14

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Theater Mon Dec 02 2013

Red Theatre Brings Sidney Michaels' Dylan To Life

dylanwebpic-300x237.png

How many times have we pulled back the curtain on a famous artist's life, only to find them drunk on the floor (and probably having sex with somebody else's wife)? I've lost count. If our poets and painters hadn't embodied the stereotype with such devotion, we'd have thrown out this tired plot long ago. As it is, Red Theatre unveils the life of bright Welsh poet Dylan Thomas, who famously quoted, "I want to be the drunkest man in the world."

Dylan, a biographical play by Sidney Michaels, explores the interaction between a genius artist and the world he lives in through glimpses into two of Dylan Thomas' American tours. These trips were intended to introduce Thomas to the American public that already adored his work, and to perhaps alleviate some of the financial stress Thomas and his wife, Caitlin, were facing back in Wales. However, Dylan's alcoholism leads him to ruin, as he fumbles his way through public appearances and spends every last penny he earns on whiskey.

Gage Wallace is Dylan, convincingly Welsh and heartbreakingly doomed. Wallace delivers both lines of play and lines of poetry with an emotion sure to intoxicate audiences; he is appropriately the most interesting character to watch. The others, agents and wives and adoring fans, serve as a humorous support (literally) to the drunken poet.

As for Aaron Sawyer's direction, it was simple, ingenious, and beautiful; the play began seamlessly as actors milled into the room alongside playgoers, and the line between where the stage ended and the audience began blurred into quaint darkness. This allowed for an interactive experience that allowed those of us watching to wonder whether or not we were truly looking back, rather than watching Dylan's life unfold before us in real time.

My only complaint is that the show is very long. Plan accordingly, and pick up a glass of wine in The Den Theatre's charming lobby during intermission to fuel your appreciation of the second act. It's a show worth seeing, if only to hear Gage Wallace recite "Do not go gentle into that good night" with reverent fervor.

Tickets can be purchased on Red Theatre's website. Dylan will be showing at The Den Theatre, 1333 N. Milwaukee, Thursdays through Sundays through December 22. To learn more about this play, visit this page.

 
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By Nancy Bishop

Architecture critic Paul Goldberger talks about Frank Gehry's life and work in a new book.
Read this feature »

Steve at the Movies Fri Jan 01 2016

Best Feature Films & Documentaries of 2015

By Steve Prokopy

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