St. Louis Stage Capsules 

Dennis Brown and Paul Friswold suss out the local theater scene

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
— Dennis Brown

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