March 19, 2010
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Paradise Lost

Fine production of the seldom-produced Odets play, Paradise Lost, at the American Repertory. The Playgoer has a terrific discussion, well worth reading, that recapitulates the play, the director, and the critical reaction this production has received. It is indeed a very big play; we don’t see these very often anymore.

My view is that that play’s got two terrific acts and a finale overcome by the fervor of its desires. It’s an enormously difficult play to produce, with lots of threads and complications, buckets of plot and barrels of exposition and finely-drawn characters who also double as Symbols of Art and Intellect. History was not kind to the third act, which did not know what Stalin was up to or where Hitler was headed or that 1989 would come.

But it’s an important play by an important playwright, intelligently and lavishly staged at the right historical moment. When are you going to see this again? Last chance: get there before it closes on March 20.