History tour

By CAROLYN CLAY  |  October 9, 2007

Republic of Dreams is more circus dream than coherent theater piece, and it’s possible that, the more you know about Schulz and his work, the more useful an analogue it will prove. But this creation is more earthbound than The UnPOSSESSED, Double Edge’s acrobatic poor-theater reinvention of Don Quixote, which visited the American Repertory Theatre (a co-sponsor of this engagement) in 2005. And at 50 minutes, it’s a pretty spare meal, sometimes amateurishly served (though not by Matthew Glassman as the geeky-mystic Schulz figure or Carlos Uriona as the heretical father morphing into a waxwork figure of Emperor Franz Josef or a fireman in a tutu). The audience at the performance I attended seemed bewildered that the show was over.

The most satisfying aspects of this mix of history, biography, Jewish mysticism, foot fetishism, marching parade, and hallucination are its swirl of movement (which includes the furniture) and Polish composer Jacek Ostaszewski’s klezmer-inflected instrumental and choral music. Glassman’s character, hinting at the creative depth to which the exercise aspires, invites us to the roots of imagination, where things are “tangled, dark, and spicy.” But there’s not much of a party there.

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