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Victor Hugo

  • Originally published 02/08/2013

    Let's Put a Smile on that Face

    Bruce Chadwick

    The Man Who Laughs Urban Stages 259 W. 30th Street New York, N.Y.Walk into Urban Stages, a small theater in New York City, and a carnival vendor hands you a free bag of popcorn for the show. For half an hour you're entertained by a singer and pianist at the front of a stage designed to look like a Golden Age movie theater. Another pianist, this one in a suit, then comes out, bows, and starts to play the background music to The Man Who Laughs, a 1928 masterpiece of German Expressionism starring Conrad Veidt, based on Victor Hugo’s 1869 novel. Thus begins the stage adaptation of The Man Who Laughs, not It is very unusual to watch a play designed as a silent film, with no dialogue and the only sound the tingling keys of the piano.The Stolen Chair Theater Company is famous for unusual plays, and The Man Who Laughs, which opened last week, is certainly in that tradition. If you love silent movies, you'll love The Man Who Laughs.