Tropic of Cancer is one of those watershed books. You hear about it in high school English class from some know-it-all literary snob who tells you how it is stuffed full of sex scenes and was banned in this country for years. And then you procure a copy and read it through — and learn that gratuitous use of the “c-word” isn’t particularly sexy and that Henry Miller was kind of a creep. The shock value of the book detracts from the overall literary merit (when you’re a teenager, anyway), and if you ever revisit the novel in your late 20s and early 30s, you probably get a little more out of it. There’s a line about how the world reveals itself as the “mad slaughterhouse that it is” that probably resonates with the readers who are more interested in the themes of the book than the naughty sex scenes. Matthew Posey’s deconstruction of the classic and controversial novel in his play Cicerone doesn’t steer clear of the sexuality of the original work, especially since it revisits the story through a flashback narrative. But it does revel in the setting — 1930s Paris, adding a gay giddiness to even its most nihilistic moments. See Cicerone at Ochre House Theater, 825 Exposition Ave., Wednesdays through Saturdays at 8:15 p.m. from May 16 through June 9. Tickets are $15 and available at ochrehousetheater.com.
Sat., May 19, 2012