Theater: Running Wild with a War-Horse the Count of Monte Cristo

The label of wunderkind can be a fearsome burden for any mere mortal. When Peter Sellars, 27, was named director of the new American National Theater at Washington's Kennedy Center last June, his appointment was greeted with both shock and greedy anticipation. This was, after all, the Harvard prodigy who had made his name with audacious updatings of Shakespeare, transplanted Handel's opera Orlando to Cape Canaveral and spiced up Maxim Gorky's 1904 play Summerfolk with songs by George Gershwin. Yet his first offering at Kennedy Center, a production of Shakespeare's Henry IV, Part I directed by Timothy Mayer, was shocking only...

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