The Death of Atahualpa Derived from theater traditions as old as the medieval morality play, this sampling of Andean oral theater — an authorless drama that has been handed down from generation to generation for four centuries — tells the tale of "the grand tragedy" of the death of an Incan king at the hands of Spanish conquistadors in 1533. As a saga about the "collision of empires," Atahualpa has the makings of epic storytelling. But as re-interpreted by the ever-unconventional Upstream Theater, the story is intimate and playful. This one-hour intermissionless chronicle is a festive reminder of theater at its most essential: a direct connection between actor and audience. Through April 17 at the Kranzberg Arts Center, 501 North Grand Boulevard. Tickets are $25 ($15 for students, $20 for seniors). Call 314-863-4999 or visit www.upstreamtheater.org
— Dennis Brown
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