Theater: A Tale of Downward Mobility

Frank Norris' novel McTEAGUE is a panorama of the U.S. at the turn of the century: cowboys, gold mines, the immigrant experience, the advent of electricity and the movies. At the core is a gruesome cautionary tale, aptly retitled Greed by Erich Von Stroheim when he made a nine-hour film of it in 1923. The book is both bad and great, its prose lopsided and its effects crude, its power and pathos undiminished. In adapting it anew, California's Berkeley Repertory Theater has retained all the virtues and many of the faults. The first half of Neal Bell's script seems wayward, slow...

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