By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Eric Nicholson
Part of the problem with Heart of Christmas is that Ware has hugely oversimplified Conrad's novel, which isn't really a finger-wagging exercise about slavery, but an intensely psychological, symbolic story of the competing instincts for civilization and savagery inside everyone. Dickens was a proud Victorian moralist where the injustices of his own society were concerned; Conrad was more interested in how what happens outside reflects what's happening inside. And Ware has not interwoven these related but cross-purposed emphases in any compelling manner. I can report that Core Performance Manufactory has mounted a show expressive in its light and sound design; Michael Burkett III spills illumination in eerie puddles across the floor, and bathes the office of a fretful accountant (Mark O'Dell) with appropriately harsh, unsympathetic light. Veteran Dallas music master Kim Corbet keeps the show more interesting than it really is with foley artist touches of percussion, horn, rain stick, etc., although the look of his wicker-and-bamboo setup makes us think less of Conrad's primeval inner empire than Jimmy Buffet on Gilligan's Island.
Heart of Christmas runs through December 16 at the Bath House Cultural Center, 521 E. Lawther. Call (214) 670-8750.
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