“The Republic, or My Dinner with Socrates” is creative and enlightening. The production is an adaptation of Philosopher Plato’s “Republic” fused with two of Plato’s dialogues “Crito” (Socrates’ refusal to escape from Prison) and Phaedo (Socrates’ death). “The Allegory of The Cave” is also a piece explored within the script written by Vit Horejs.
Six performers, Deborah Beshaw-Farrell, Christopher Broholm, Vit Horejs, Theresa Linnihan, Jonathan Mastrojohn and Alan Barnes Netherton play the role of multiple characters (Socrates being one of characters alternated between the cast).
Members of The Czechoslovak Theatre, the fine actors interact with show puppets and traditional Czech marionettes—this adds a fresh cultural touch. The production is the equivalent of a few weeks of philosophy class condensed into about an hour. That said, the show’s attempt to capture the audience’s attention from beginning to end is a success (or the closest it will ever get). This is partly due to the visuals which are stunning to say the least and the breaking of the fourth wall which produces comedic relief.
The works of Jakub “Kuba” Krejci (the marionette designer and caver) along with Theresa Linnihan (the shadow puppet designer) gives the eye much in which to indulge. Coupled with the set design by Tom Lee, lighting design by Frederico Restrepo and music by Clifton Hyde the show possesses a certain wow factor. There is quite a lot going on at once but Vit Horejs does a commendable job at weaving every element together. He uses all the bells and whistles in a way that they are not too much of distractions from his script.
Given its contents concerning cities (their ways of function) and rulers, the script feels current. This in mind one must still remember that this production is one for philosophy lovers. Regular theater goers don’t necessarily like getting lost and confused—the effect can be quite jarring and unpleasant. Before entering the theater it is of importance that one is awake and stays alert in order to limit such feelings. If you don’t want to think too much for the night then this show is not for you. However, if you want to see an inventive approach to the ideologies of philosophers of the past then “The Republic, or My Dinner with Socrates” is worth a trip.
The Republic, or My Dinner with Socrates- Adapted and directed by Vit Horejs
With: Deborah Beshaw-Farrell (Socrates, Xantipa, Others), Christopher Broholm (Thrasymachos, Adeimantos, Socrates), Jakub “Kuba” Krejci (Marionette Designer and Caver), Theresa Linnihan (Anytos, Costume, and Shadow Puppet Design, Dramaturge), Jonathan Mastrojohn (actor), Alan Barnes Netherton (Glaucon, Socrates, Adeimantos), Frederico Restrepo (Lighting Designer), Maxwell Waters (Stage Manager), Bonnie Sue Stein (Executive Producer), Mahak Mobaiyen (Production Assistant) and Jonathan Slaff (Public Relations).
La MaMa E.T.C. (First Floor Theater), 74A East Fourth Street. November 29 to December 15, 2013. Thursdays through Saturdays at 7:30 PM, Sundays at 2:30 PM $18 General Admission, $13 students and seniors. Ten $10 tickets will be available to every performance on a first-come, first-served basis. Box office (212) 475-7710, www.lamama.org