Amy Freed’s ‘The Monster-Builder’ at Artists Rep entertains but also dishes up …

Amy Freed certainly knows how to write a wonderfully wild and witty play. Her new work “The Monster-Builder,” currently receiving its world premiere at Artists Repertory Theatre, is a broad comedy with humor ranging from sophisticated word play to crude sexual puns. It is also a penetrating thesis drama, a gothic melodrama, and a salient satire of artistic and intellectual elites all rolled into one. But that’s just scratching the surface. This is a play that entertains, but also leaves one with much to mull over afterwards.

The pondering might begin with Freed’s title, which can’t help but call to mind Henrik Ibsen’s “The Master Builder.” As in the 1892 drama, the focal character here is a master architect. Also like Ibsen’s protagonist, Halvard Solness, Freed’s central character Gregor Zubrowski, has found that his single-minded pursuit of professional glory has stripped him of his humanity.

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