Monday, November 09, 2009

The Lesser Seductions of History

Photo: Tyler Griffin Hicks-Wright

Why are we here? Can we make the world a better place? At what cost? Can we connect with one another? At what cost? Can we maintain our sense of hope? At what cost? In the excellent Flux Theatre Ensemble production of August Schulenburg's beautiful and ambitious play, The Lesser Seductions of History, ten people wrestle with these questions--enthusiastically, awkwardly, humbly, pompously, heartbreakingly--over the years 1960 to 1969.

Schulenberg, director Heather Cohn, and a superb cast present a believable, compelling version of the 60s with none of the judgment or condescension often pointed at that confusing, wonderful, and awful decade. Cohn balances the intertwining storylines with a sure hand and guides the actors to distinctive, emotionally clear performances. Of the top-notch performers, Christina Shipp, as a woman running from her pain, Jake Alexander, as a poet who doesn't necessarily deserve all the love he receives, IsaiahTanenbaum, as a brilliant nerd who mourns the life he'll never lead, and Jason Paradine, as a doctor determined to save lives to atone for a past misdeed, are particularly impressive.

If the theatre gods deserve their divinity, The Lesser Seductions of History will end up with a long run and multiple awards off or on Broadway. (Oh, and did I mention that it's funny and sexy too?)

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