Babel at Nimbus Theatre
Josh Cragun's new work at Nimbus—about a fantastical, possibly infinite library, an order of librarian monks, the chance of immortality, and the fall of the tower of Babel—is a decidedly crazy undertaking where the ideas often outstrip the story and the talents of the company of actors. Cragun draws from numerous sources, from the ancient legends of the Tower of Babel to the writings of Jorge Luis Borges. These pieces aren't so much woven together as tossed together to make a patchwork, with the show taking long side trips when instead it needs a stronger focus. At the center are a presumed infinite library and the monk librarians who maintain the stacks. The investigations of a pair of acolytes uncover the history and its connection to the ancient Sumerians and their famed tower. There's a lot going on in both of these worlds, and Cragun (also the director) works hard to mold it into something compelling. While the material mostly moves along at a good pace, it's obvious that the script needed another set of eyes (at least) to tighten the action. A better company of actors would have helped this along as well. Some of the basics, like knowing lines and cues, were missing, while character development was generally lacking. On the upside, Zach Morgan's multifaceted set is a sight to behold, transforming among different chambers of the library and, in one of the show's highlights, the brighter world of Sumer for our flashback.
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