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Anyone who has seen Shine, Shakespeare in Love, Exit the King or most recently The King's Speech knows that everything Geoffrey Rush touches turns to gold, and his current theater engagement should be no exception. The Diary of a Madman, which opened last week for a one-month run at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, showcases Rush as Poprishchin, an unaccomplished civil servant living in 1830s Russia during the reign of Nicholas I. Based on a satirical short story by Nikolai Gogol, the play details the protagonist's descent into insanity as told through his diary entries: He suspects two dogs of swapping love letters and spies on their affair, believes himself to be heir to the Spanish throne and falls in love with his superior's daughter. If Rush's past performances offer any clues as to how he will play a man held captive by a rigid social structure and a debilitating mental state, it's a safe bet to expect brilliance. At 651 Fulton St., Brooklyn; 718-636-4100; bam.org.

Photo Heidrun Lohr

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