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  Fuente Ovejuna Reviews
Fuente Ovejuna
Fuente Ovejuna

Fuente Ovejuna
City Lit Theater
Thru - Feb 17, 2019

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City Lit Theater

  • Highly Recommended
  • Recommended
  • Somewhat Recommended
  • Not Recommended

Chicago Reader- Somewhat Recommended

"...Despite great energy and ensemble feel, the actors in Terry McCabe's treatment at City Lit Theater can't seem to get a lot of traction with the language or the narrative. Part of the issue is the translation McCabe is working from, which is such a bone-literal piece of public-domainery that it sounds like it originally existed as a crib to help people read the play in Spanish. All in all, the production ends up, as a great many historical revivals do, at war with its own baggage: the best laughs are off the line; the most endearing moments of acting are the partially mugged asides that barely relate to the actual story."
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Max Maller



Stage and Cinema- Recommended

"...De Vega orchestrates the escalation with aplomb, setting in motion a seemingly irresistible force against an immovable object. It all peaks with Fuente Ovejuna's astonishing refusal to name Fernan's executioner, a profile in courage - from boys as much as grownups - that rings down the centuries, the #Me Too movement four centuries ahead of its time. (It also wins a pardon for the town from Ferdinand and Isabella.) The dramatist also includes a merry debate about the selfishness of love and some commentary on the possible effects of Gutenberg's new printing press on writing."
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Lawrence Bommer



NewCity Chicago- Recommended

"...“Fuente Ovejuna” is a rousingly and at times thrillingly good play, powered by the writer’s ability to create characters who are anchored in a certain time and place, yet whose struggle for freedom and dignity speaks as clearly today as it did four centuries ago. The lesson is that nations are born and reborn in acts of collective rebellion against unjust authority, reminding those in power that it’s the people who have the final word."
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Hugh Iglarsh



Chicago Theatre Review- Recommended

"...The show clocks in at 80 minutes, including the intermission, so there is not much time to comment on the events of the story; there's just enough time to present them. I think that works to the show's benefit, since it leaves the analysis to the audience to do on its own. While I continue to think the first act somewhat uneven, the show as a piece was an interesting and unexpected, but ultimately enjoyable way to spend an afternoon."
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Kevin Curran



Buzznews.net- Recommended

"...Terry McCabe, who adapted and directed the work, provides an amazing evocation of the village center, with a continuous cavalcade of performers - 16 actors in 20 roles, including a musical band, with the requisite pool and working fountain in the town square. All this takes place in the tiny quarters of City Lit Theater's space on Bryn Mawr. De Vega's play has a living heritage: In its home town, it is performed regularly as part of a theater festival, with 150 of the townsfolk in the cast."
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Bill Esler



Irish American News- Highly Recommended

"...I loved this play with its exciting social drama, humor, strong character development and great acting."
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Frank West



Third Coast Review- Recommended

"...City Lit gives this a brisk 80-minute staging (including an intermission!) and manages to tell the story fully, covering all important details. (The most recent Chicago production was at Court Theatre in 1991. The play isn't staged often, but runs more than two hours if staged uncut.) Jeremy Hollis' scenic design provides a village plaza with fountain, circled by arches, doors and passages that McCabe uses to move the cast of 16 around."
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Nancy Bishop



Rescripted- Somewhat Recommended

"...Terry McCabe and City Lit’s admiration for this script is clear. It shows in the choices made with cuts, design decisions that promote community, and the musical moments that shake the columns. Something, however, is missing. There is a deeper layer to the script that is left untapped. Where the humor rises, the danger falls short. At a crucial point in the play, Frondoso (Brian Bradford) holds a cross-bow to the Commander and this moment just passes by as it does not hold the appropriate amount of tension. This is just one example of several lack-luster moments that leave me going “huh, Okay.” This production of Fuente Ovejuna is like watching a tightrope act that’s only inches from the ground, still impressive but missing the thrill."
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Sierra Carlson



TheatreWorld Internet Magazine- Highly Recommended

"...When a person is coerced into doing something that they feel is unpleasant it is often said that they are motivated by "the fear of God." After seeing the world premiere adaptation of Lope de Vega's scorching work, Fuente Ovejuna, it is fair to say that City Lit Artistic Director Terry McCabe, helming the work, is able to instill the fear of God into a willing cast and justify a sword-fight to the finish if need be. This is not the first time he's mobilized a cast to do battle, but this time is certainly a great feat and a major work of art."
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Ruth Smerling