The Hypocrites’s 12-hour Greek drama marathon All Our Tragic will have a return engagement June–August 2015 at its new home at the Den Theatre. To acknowledge that bit of news, we are reposting our story about the show from our July/August ’14 issue.
Would you really like to have dinner with the characters you meet in plays? Some shows—like The Hypocrites of Chicago’s upcoming day-long compendium of Greek drama All Our Tragic, slated Aug. 1–Oct. 5—make just such an arrangement possible. See the show, and you get to dine with Oedipus (more accurately, the actor who plays him). Sitting down to salad and pasta, you can broach subjects like whether Jocasta (his mom! his wife! his mom!) should have hanged herself or what it feels like to gouge out your own eyes.
Good idea or bad? Even the company’s actors had reservations: “That sounds horrible! We’re not gonna like talking to the audience, and they’re not gonna want to talk to us,” feared Tien Doman, a member of the production’s 23-member ensemble. But after trying out the meal-break concept in Sophocles: Seven Sicknesses (a 4-hour precursor to the new, 12-hour epic), Doman and her colleagues decided the idea was “just right,” quite in tune with the original, immersive, durational theatre experience of the ancient Greeks.
Director and adapter Sean Graney, who cribbed plot from all 32 surviving Greek tragedies to write All Our Tragic, believes the food breaks are as important as the plays themselves—they “foster a society to discuss the freshly witnessed plays,” and give spectators an illuminating chance to “just get to know some strangers.”