CHICAGO -- The company members of the Shattered Globe Theatre perform on a postage-stamp stage in a 50-seat house, but small size never discouraged this less-is-more troupe from staging such sprawlers as The Manchurian Candidate and A Streetcar Named Desire. On Jan. 13 the theatre tackles Tolstoy, with an Anna Karenina that has everything but the train. Its chief asset is a script by Britain's Helen Edmundson that won London's Time Out Award and the Theatre Manager's Association Award. (Earlier this season, Edmundson's rich dramatization of George Eliot's The Mill on the Floss received two Chicago productions.)
In addition to portraying the agony of the heroine, a woman who loves and loses in equal proportion, Edmundson's adaptation -- a U.S. premiere -- gives full emphasis to Levin, who, like his author, abandons social position and power in order to return to the freedom of his farm and the rewards of religion.
-- By Lawrence Bommer