Dostoevsky's The Grand Inquisitor

Evocative staging works a mystical charm on all the senses

In the middle of Dostoevsky's novel The Brothers Karamazov, Ivan Karamazov recites a "poem in prose" of his own composition titled "The Grand Inquisitor." It is this strange story-within-a-story that Gary Graves has meticulously adapted for the stage in Central Works' deeply moving production Dostoevsky's The Grand Inquisitor. Set in Seville, Spain, at the height of the Spanish Inquisition, the play centers around the character of the Grand Inquisitor (Graves), a ruthless old man hellbent on maintaining control with the rack and the wheel. But when a stranger turns up who is reportedly able to perform miracles, the Inquisitor is forced to ask himself penetrating questions. Combining whiffs of church incense, intense lighting, an evocative set featuring a ponderous crucifix at its center, and a haunting soundscape of sacred choral music, the production works a mystical charm on all the senses. Though the pace sometimes feels slow, Graves brings sensitivity to the character of the Inquisitor, and David Skillman shows off multidexterous talents in a variety of roles. The Thick House provides an appropriately intimate setting for the play, but the hallowed surroundings of the Berkeley City Club no doubt will give the experience extra intensity.

Details

Through June 19

Then runs July 8-31 at the Berkeley City Club, 2315 Durant (at Ellsworth), Berkeley.

Tickets are $9-25

(510) 558-1381

www. centralworks.org

Thick House, 1695 18th St. (between Arkansas and De Haro), S.F.

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