Republic | Manbites Dog Theater | Stage | Indy Week

Stage

Republic

When: Feb. 20-22, 8:15 p.m., Sun., Feb. 23, 3:15 p.m. and Feb. 26-March 1, 8:15 p.m. 2014

In The Republic, a cornerstone of Western philosophy and nation-building, Plato puts Socrates in dialogues that test and tease out the nature of justice. With its chosen name, the Brooklyn-based, Obie Award-winning theater company Hoi Polloi seems to mark just where its sympathy falls between the individual and the state. Founded in 2007 by Duke graduate Alec Duffy, the company develops and stages energetic new work with humanity, hilarity and no fear of ensemble chaos. Its Republic, where a tumult of modern speech and hectic action breaks down Plato's moral cost-benefit analysis into dreamlike theater, was developed at Duke during two extended residencies over the past year, which included public workshop performances. Now Hoi Polloi debuts the completed play at Manbites Dog Theater. They'll play it in the round, tacitly casting the audience as spectators listening to Socratic rhetoric in the agorá. The recorded music features the audacious jazz vocalist Fay Victor, whose manifold expressive gestures meld with the soulful multiplicity of Hoi Polloi's imaginary city. Republic runs, across seven nights and one matinee, through March 1; see Duke Performances' website for full details. —Brian Howe

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