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Chicago Fringe Opera presents In the Penal Colony

  • Lillstreet Art Center 4401 North Ravenswood Avenue Chicago, IL, 60640 United States (map)

Philip Glass's harrowing adaptation of Franz Kafka's short story of the same title returns to Chicago for the first time since the work's premiere at the Court Theatre in 2000.

With two singers, two actors and a string quintet, Glass's pocket opera is small in scale and vast in impact. In an unnamed country, a soldier is to be put to death by capital punishment: a machine will tattoo the offender's crimes on his skin, thus bleeding him to death. When a suspicious human rights inspectors arrives to witness the punishment, the officer in command must convince him of the humanity of the procedure, but with brutal consequences.

Glass's examination of capital punishment, morality and the darkness of the human spirit is amplified by his iconic score, full of the rhythms and harmonic complexities found in his other works such as Einstein on the Beach and the Qatsi trilogy.

This production is produced in partnership with the Lillstreet Art Center and is performed in the Center's Painting Studio, continuing Chicago Fringe Opera's successful run of opera productions in immersive and non-traditional venues.