The Hypocrites Theater, a Chicago theater company known for its avant garde works, experimenting with new, and stretching existing genres, has adapted and staged seven Sophocles plays in one production, “Sophocles: Seven Sicknesses,” all set in a hospital emergency room.
Performed in the basement of the Chopin Theater, a small Wicker Park storefront, they present three themed acts: “Honor Lost,” “Honor Found” and “Honor Abandoned.” Experimental theater director Sean Graney has added an unexpected musical soundtrack to the show – all songs are by rock-n-roll legend Bruce Springsteen, from his album “The River.” They songs are performed live on stage by the actors.
Chicago Tribune Art Critic Chris Jones referred to the swinging doors in the emergency room “functioning as the equivalent to the famous central doors in the Theatre of Dionysus.” The chorus in this production is a pair of nurses, who’ve “seen it all, done it all.” Jones added that the director takes “a glancing blow rather than staring Sophocles right in the face,” and that the director’s “natural inclination is more Euripidean than Sophoclean.”
Though the tragedies are not performed in their entirety, it is rare to have all seven of the fully-intact surviving plays of Sophocles staged together. It is more common for only “Oedipus,” “Antigone” and “Elektra” to be staged.
The four-hour dinner and show ends in late October.