Peeru Gunto reworks an epic
It's not that Ibsen's folkloric hero, Peer Gynt, didn't already lead a picaresque adventure of a life as he traveled from Norway to China and Africa -- glad-handing trolls, leaving various women behind, getting rich as a slave trader, and all the while seeking the meaning of life. But why not reset the whole play-poem in nineteenth-century Japan, where the hero, renamed Peeru Gunto, sets off to make his fortune in the wild American West during the Gold Rush?
That's exactly what Cecilia Pang, an assistant drama professor at the University of Colorado at Boulder, did in her Kabuki-style adaptation, an eyeful of a staging that includes Japanese music, dance, puppets and breathtaking, larger-than-life costumery to make Ibsen's point all over again, from an Eastern perspective. But nothing's really changed: Peeru still finds the truth right back where he started from.
The CU-Boulder Department of Theatre and Dance presents Pang's stylish remake of Peer Gynt beginning tonight at 8 p.m., on campus at the University Theatre Mainstage, in the Theatre and Dance Building; performances continue through December 5, with a one-week break for Thanksgiving. For tickets, $12 to $15, call 303-492-8181 or log on to www.colorado.edu/TheatreDance. -- Susan Froyd