PLAYS TO SEE: Review of The Emperor

By Ben Odom

There is no shortage of art that comments on the current administration. Revivals and new plays alike are prone to this scrutiny by a modern American audience. Colin Teevan’s stage adaptation of Ryszard Kapuscinski’s The Emperor is no exception, but it portrays neither the ruler nor the oppressed, but those who perhaps knew the ruler more intimately than anyone else: the servants, steadfast in their duties, and unsparing of their secrets. After the fall of Ethiopian emperor Haile Selassie, Kapuscinski interviewed the few surviving members of his court, who are all played with distinct and unforgettable dexterity by Kathryn Hunter.