Wearing It Well

CanStage's wordless version of The Overcoat explores the soul of a dreamer in a workaday world

American Conservatory Theater's production of 
The Overcoat features a two-story mechanized 
set, more than 85 costumes, and 22 actors.
David Cooper
American Conservatory Theater's production of The Overcoat features a two-story mechanized set, more than 85 costumes, and 22 actors.

Details

Created by Morris Panych and Wendy Gorling

Based on "The Overcoat" by Nikolai Gogol

Music by Dmitri Shostakovich

Through Sept. 25

Tickets are $25-80

749-2228

www.act-sf.or g

Geary Theater, 415 Geary (at Mason), S.F.

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In an essay about Gogol's "The Overcoat," "The Apotheosis of a Mask," Vladimir Nabokov says of the protagonist: "The making and the putting on of the cloak is really his disrobing and his gradual reversion to the stark nakedness of his own ghost." The act of putting on the new coat is, weirdly enough, tantamount to a striptease, and the gaudy exposition of The Man's fragile soul ultimately leads to his undoing. Watching the character, recently divested of his gorgeous butterfly mantle, shivering in shirt sleeves in the St. Petersburg snow in CanStage's production is to understand something about the nature of creativity: Ephemeral, raw, and subject to ridicule, artistic inspiration cannot adequately be articulated through words. Telling us this version of the story without them, as Gorling and Panych do, makes much more sense.

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