Director-provocateur Ivo van Hove and his Toneelgroep troupe are best known in the U.S. for wreaking hypermodern ultraviolent havoc on old standbys (Streetcar, The Little Foxes). Roman Tragedies — a taut, sinewy, witty adaptation and elision of Coriolanus, Julius Caesar, and Antony and Cleopatra — is their grandest show yet to reach these shores. Audiences wander freely throughout the massive Gilman Opera House as Roman democracy comes unsprung; we’re even encouraged to mount the stage itself, a multimedia “spa” environment subdivided with modular furniture, TV screens, a working bar, and a phalanx of videographers shooting everything. You’re in the midst of it, and fully liberated — yet entirely at the mercy of forces beyond your control. This is war as experienced through media and politics: the tense detachment and the sudden consequences. Rome is burning, so don’t fiddle. See this once-in-a-lifetime theatrical event now.
Playing at BAM tonight and tomorrow. Clear your evening. All of it.