The Lower Depths

When the celebrated Russian playwright Maxim Gorky penned his defining work, The Lower Depths, cultural commentators inevitably interpreted the stark depiction of the impoverished lower class as a damning critique on the prevailing social order. Indeed, such a specific target would seem implicit in the work's subtitle, "Scenes from Russian Life." Great art, of course, has a tendency to transcend its era. So while Russian audiences of 1902 would have recognized their own cultural casualties upon the stage, the tragedy has retained a distressingly familiar authenticity the world over. Nimbus Theatre has transplanted Gorky's tale to the United States during the Great Depression. Adhering closely to the original character-based narrative, the production takes place in the distressed confines of a boarding house inhabited by social castoffs. Within this desperate makeshift community, the denizens shift between farcical determination and grim resignation, alternating empathy and apathy while struggling to maintain some vestige of their own humanity. Adapted and directed by Josh Cragun, Nimbus Theatre's innovative co-artistic director, The Lower Depths defies time-capsule status with a vital relevance to our current age. At a time of year when much lip service is paid to the virtue of charity, Nimbus Theatre provides a solicitous voice for those whose hopes have gone unheard far too long. (Photo by Mathieu Lindquist)
Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 3 p.m.; Thursdays, Fridays, 7:30 p.m.; Mondays, 7:30 p.m. Starts: Dec. 7. Continues through Dec. 22, 2013

 
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