El Cid

A surreal medieval-epic-rock-musical

It all begins with PBS-induced hallucinations, and gets even kookier from there. Ex-local guitarist/playwright Herbert Bergel’s rock-operatic adaptation of El Cid, based on the 12th-century epic poem chronicling the Castilian hero’s (partial) ousting of Spain’s Arabic conquerors, throws historical pedantry aside and delves into something far more surreal. From the quixotic fantasies of a lonesome pizza boy, the drama is enacted by pajama-clad brawlers jovially swinging egg-beaters at each other’s heads, prancing through elaborate choreography, belting out their lines (all in verse), and in one hilarious case getting stuffed into a larger-than-life skinsuit. The 1997 debut production by Printer’s Devil Theatre is being recreated, this weekend only, by students from the Bush School. Bergel’s original “garage-rock” songs, reminiscent of Grease’s “Summer Nights” and Grounded for Life’s “Don’t Fear the Reefer,” are apparently so catchy that Bush students have been risking life and limb to listen in on rehearsals through classroom windows. Director Truman Buffett, a member of Printer’s Devil’s original cast, chose this offbeat masterpiece hoping to introduce his students to something other the typical “canonical, multi-generational” plays perennially beaten to death on high-school stages. El Cid is about as far from Our Town as the Bush School drama students could legally get. Benaroya Theater, Bush School, 3400 E. Harrison St. 322-7978. Pay-what-you-can. 7 p.m. tonight though Sat., Feb. 2, also 2 & 9:30 p.m. Sat. JENNA NAND

Jan. 30-Feb. 1, 7 p.m.; Sat., Feb. 2, 2, 7 & 9:30 p.m., 2008

 
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