Barnyard Satire

It is no small challenge to give a new lease on life to French playwright Edmond Rostand's 1910 allegorical drama Chantecler, even for the title-bestowing rooster who believes that his song can call forth the dawn. The Adhesive Theater Project makes a valiant attempt in its low-budget production at the Teatro LA TEA on the Lower East Side, but the company gets bogged down in the script's honeyed lyricism and the unwieldy menagerie of more than 100 talking birds and animals. Director Cory Einbinder has trimmed about a half-hour from the three-hour play, but it still feels about an hour too long. Part social satire and part barnyard fable, Chantecler is considered a minor play in the oeuvre of Rostand, who achieved international acclaim as the author of Cyrano de Bergerac. The play ran for nearly 100 performances in its first English-language production in 1911, based largely on advance ticket sales generated by the gender-bending casting of the popular stage actress Maude Adams as the rooster. This is its first New York City revival in a new translation by Kay Nolte Smith, who sacrificed natural speech rhythms

Click for print friendly PDF version of this blog post