THEATER company: PushPush Theater.
AGE: German playwright Friedrich Schiller wrote The Robbers while in college in 1781. PushPush producing artistic director Tim Habeger wrote the new adaptation.
HISTORICAL SIGNIFICANCE: Schiller's first play lives up to his reputation as "the German Shakespeare" with its depiction, reminiscent of King Lear, of a murderous, society-shaking rivalry between brothers Franz (Daniel Pettrow) and Karl (Justin Welborn).
UNIVERSAL THEMES: Karl's anarchistic freedom fighter follows in Robin Hood's footsteps, while proto-fascist Franz represents the ruthless, dehumanizing powers of the state. Their conflict dramatizes the eternal struggles of social order vs. individualization and law vs. liberty.
POST-MODERN CONCEPTS: PushPush updates the play with a vengeance, giving it not just a contemporary setting, but presenting it primarily on film. Called a "movieplay," The Robbers unfolds with three actors (Pettrow, Welborn and Shelby Hofer as the love interest) performing live scenes, but the majority of the action takes place as a movie with a much larger cast. Filmmaker Dave Bruckner presents Franz's scenes like an old-fashioned black-and-white melodrama and Karl's sequences like a stylish Guy Ritchie crime drama, complete with guns, foul language and coke snorted through dollar bills.
DATED QUALITIES: Though the production draws on elements of modern-day corporate dissent (Karl's band of robbers targets a Wal-Mart-esque mega-store), the play's revolutionary idealism probably felt more timely during the radicalism of the 1960s and '70s.
WORTHY OF REVIVAL?: Yes, even though PushPush's movieplay notion works better in theory than execution. The filmed scenes reveal an abundance of low-budget energy, but the live material seldom integrates gracefully, and some of Schiller's ideas about violence and religious faith get lost in the layers of different media. PushPush specializes in "reimagining classics," but when Franz sodomizes a teddy bear with a Bible, you dearly wish they'd remained more faithful to the text.
NOW PLAYING: Through Nov. 20. Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 5 p.m. PushPush Theater, 121 New St., Decatur. $12-$16. 404-377-6332. www.pushpushtheater.com.
Little harsh, in'it?
Oh that's right...I DID say enjoy yourself.
Go to hell Kombo!
When will you be accepting applicants for the 2014 competition?
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