Welcome to room 661 of the Chicago Lexington Hotel. The cramped room is only about 20 square meters big with one bed under three yellowish low lights. There are no other exits, but only a small window in the dim, stuffy chamber, making the audience feel ightly suffocated. Everyone, within the audience of less than one hundred, becomes the witness, observing every single detail of agony, betrayal, and misunderstandings of characters within the small room.
▲ The room 661 in the Chicago Lexington Hotel. Provided by Story P.
The Capone Trilogy is set in the time frame from the 1920s to 1940s, the era of Al Capone, who was the boss of Chicago Outfit. The performance is a rendition of three different imaginations of Capone’s crime organization. As it can be inferred from its name Trilogy, The Capone Trilogy consists of three different omnibus stories in three different plays. The plays set the time when the scene happened: Loki in 1923, Vindici in 1934, and Lucifer in 1943.
The performances have three different colors and completely distinct genres, which are comedy, suspense, and hard-boiled. One of them, The Capone Trilogy: Lucifer, the second installment of the series, is a suspense genre and legitimate drama dealing with the mafia after Al Capone was jailed in prison. Here, three characters related to the mafia organization pressure one another in a razor-sharp atmosphere, intriguing the audience.
▲ The young man confronts with old man. Provided by Story P.
Three protagonists of the play are intertwined with the mafia family. Nick Nitti, who is the second in power at Capone’s organization, is reluctant to become the boss and wants to protect his young fiancée, Marlene. Marlene’s cousin, Michael, is a police officer, even though his father is a great mafia boss. Three of them desperately want to live an ordinary life, especially Nick, who does not wish to get involved in the mafia business. However, his wish evaporates like the arch angel Lucifer, a fallen shining star. The more he strives to be normal, the more he is corrupted by power.
Because of the radical storyline, there is a warning that a person under the age of 19 cannot enter the theater. In addition, those who are pregnant or suffer from claustrophobia are also denied entrance into the room. Thanks to the limited space of a small-sized room and the laudable acting that easily captures the audience’s attention, the play delivers greater realism. To convey the thrill, a woofer speaker is installed in every seat. When dynamic heartbeat sounds resonate in the theater, the audience can literally feel the tension between the characters as their seats wobble.
Along with the great sound effect, the symbols and colors in the performance take essential roles in the play. One of the symbols is a red balloon that appears throughout the performance. While a balloon is beautiful, it always has the possibility of popping at the same time, which reflects the characters’ dream of living a normal life. For them, living an ordinary life is a desire and at the same time, a beautiful dream, but their dreams are just as fragile as the red balloon.
▲ The lady plays an important role in the story. Provided by Story P.
Marlene, who always begs her husband to live like other ordinary people, wears a red dress the same color as the balloon. Red balloon and dress are the stage props that are brightly colored, while other props, and even lights in the performance are dim. The stark contrast of colors only maximizes the characters’ tragedy.
In addition, Lucifer shows the best action scene among the three series of The Capone Trilogy. In the fighting scene, Nick and Michael’s blockings, a term that elaborates actors’ movements and actions on the stage, were impeccable in that their consecutive actions were as smooth as water. The actors had to practice a substantial amount of time for this scene. On stage, the actors poured out what they have prepared arduously before spectators. Surprisingly, even though the distance between audience and actors are less than one span, the actors are committed to the scene, like there is not a single one audience member in the room. Their immaculate acts engross the audience in the story.
Despite the triumvirate of the performance—its settings, symbols, and acts—there is something to be reprimanded. The running time of Lucifer is 70 minutes, which is too short to satisfy an audience’s curiosity and even impedes the development of the story. The moment the audience begins to be completely mesmerized by the story, the curtain falls down. Furthermore, the play starts off with a bang and ends with a whimper. The ending of the story is typical, and due to the lack of time, the audience feels that the performance is suddenly wrapped up.
Moreover, since three figures—the old man, the lady, and the young man—are static characters whose personalities are easily predictable, the audience might get bored of the plot. For instance, Marlene remains as a weak and vulnerable character to her husband from the very beginning to the end of the performance. Nonetheless, this stereotype demonstrates each character’s personality clearly so that the performance can persuade the audience about the story more effectively.
▲ The old man secretly delivers message to young man. Provided by Story P.
The defects of the performance can be compensated as the audience has a chance to appreciate the other two series, Loki and Vindici. Three distinctive stories harmonize with one another, making a big picture of the performance that covers each deficiency. Usually, the two stories are held at the theater in one day. Therefore, those who want to enjoy the story more deeply can watch two in a row.
At last, all stories mingle with a grisly atmosphere of mafia, catalyzing the great gangster performance. The Capone Trilogy indeed succeeds the thrones of great classic crime movies like The Godfather (1972) or Once upon a Time in America (1984). As the famous line of -Vito Corleone in The Godfather “I’m going to make him and offer he can’t refuse,” the audience definitely cannot resist an offer to see the performance.