Crime Time

Impoverished and desperate, a man murders a pawnbroker and her half-sister with an ax, and guilt eventually becomes his undoing. Though the novel has a reputation for being dense and hard to absorb, that sentence basically sums up the plot of Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment — a book that Stephen Weitz, the producing ensemble director for the Boulder Ensemble Theatre, calls “one of the first psychological thrillers.” And even if it isn’t the first novel that comes to mind for adaptation to a hyper-minimalist play with a three-man cast, Crime and Punishment is better suited for that treatment than you might think, Weitz insists.

“It cuts away a lot of the historical and extraneous aspects of the novel and really focuses on the characters and the drama itself,” he says of the Marilyn Campbell and Curt Columbus-penned adaptation. “It’s really streamlined.” That theatrical scalpel created a brisk, ninety-minute production that homes in on the book’s most essential elements, shaping Dostoyevsky’s ponderous narrative into a sleek bullet that gets right to the heart of our modern, attention-span-deficient world.

The show opens tonight at 7:30 p.m. at the Dairy Center for the Arts, 2590 Walnut Street in Boulder, and runs through March 5. For tickets, $18 to $22, or more information, go to www.boulderensembletheatre.org or call 303-665-1841
Thursdays-Saturdays, 7:30 p.m.; Sundays, 4 p.m. Starts: Feb. 17. Continues through March 5, 2011

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Jef Otte
Contact: Jef Otte