The two cities in Charles Dickens A Tale of Two Cities are Paris and London, but the tale itself is more about the people who make up the population of those cities, and how both people and cities are transformed through the universal cycle of destruction followed by new growth. Carton, a barrister whos really let himself go, stands in for London; Darnay, the dashing young nobleman, represents Paris. The impetus for their destruction and regeneration is their shared love for Lucie Mannette; Cartons love is platonic, Darnays is sanctified by marriage, and yet each man is prodded from his initial orbit by love. Their personal journeys are set against the backdrop of the French Revolution, when a downtrodden society rose up against the oppressive ruling class -- and became somewhat oppressive itself. Along the way you get some amazing coincidences (lazy, lazy Dickens), some nobility and some angry mob action, as well as some of the most quotable lines in the English language. Saint Louis Shakespeare presents A Tale of Two Cities at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday (August 31 through September 9), with a 7:30 p.m. performance on Thursday, September 6, at the Grandel Theatre (3610 Grandel Square; 314-361-5664 or www.stlshakespeare.org). Tickets are $15 to $20.
Fridays-Sundays; Thu., Sept. 6. Starts: Aug. 31. Continues through Sept. 9