Tag: Adam Poss

Review: 2666 (Goodman Theatre)

Janet Ulrich Brooks and Mark L. Montgomery in 2666 Parv V, Goodman Theatre          


Adapted by Robert Falls, Seth Bockley
  from novel by Roberto Bolaño 
Goodman Theatre, 170 N. Dearborn (map)
thru Mar 13  |  tix: $20-$45 | more info
Check for half-price tickets   

March 10, 2016 | 2 Comments More

Review: 1984 (Steppenwolf for Young Adults)

Lance Baker and Adam Poss star in Steppenwolf for Young Adults' "1984," adapted by Andrew White, directed by Hallie Gordon. (photo credit: Joe Mazza)          

Adapted by Andrew White
   from novel by George Orwell
Steppenwolf Theatre, 1650 N. Halsted (map)
thru Nov 20  |  tix: $20  |  more info
Check for half-price tickets   

October 26, 2015 | 0 Comments More

Review: The Lake Effect (Silk Road Rising)

Minita Gandhi and Mark Smith star in Silk Road Rising's "The Lake Effect" by Rajiv Joseph, directed by Timothy Douglas. (photo credit: Michael Brosilow)        
The Lake Effect 

Written by Rajiv Joseph  
Directed by Timothy Douglas 
at Pierce Hall, 77 W. Washington (map)
thru May 26  |  tickets: $35   |  more info
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May 4, 2013 | 0 Comments More

Review: The Small, Dark Room (Erasing the Distance)

Adam Poss stars as Tarak in Erasing the Distance's "The Small, Dark Room", directed by Reshmi Hazra. (photo credit: Cory Dewald)        
The Small, Dark Room

Directed by Reshmi Hazra 
Center on Halsted, 3656 N. Halsted (map)
thru April 16  |  tickets: $15-$20   |  more info
Check for half-price tickets 
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April 11, 2013 | 0 Comments More

Review: Teddy Ferrara (Goodman Theatre)

Liam Benzvi and Adam Poss star in Goodman Theatre's "Teddy Ferrara" by Christopher Shinn, directed by Evan Cabnet. (photo credit: Liz Lauren)        
Teddy Ferrara 

Written by Christopher Shinn 
Directed by Evan Cabnet
at Goodman Theatre, 170 N. Dearborn (map)
thru March 3  |  tickets: $14-$45   |  more info
Check for half-price tickets 
        Read entire review

February 14, 2013 | 0 Comments More

Top 10 Chicago Plays of 2012

Taking into account the nearly 700 productions that we reviewed in 2012, here are our picks for the best of the best. Bravo!!  (FYI: We’re honored to have the national website Huffington Post use our choices for their Top 10 Chicago productions here)

Mary Beth Fisher and Rob Lindley star in Court Theatre's "Angels in America" by Tony Kushner, directed by Charles Newell. Molly Regan, Lusia Strus and Mariann Mayberry star in Steppenwolf Theatre's "Good People" by David Lindsay-Abaire, directed by K. Todd Freman. (photo credit: Michael Brosilow) Rania Salem Manganaro stars in The Inconveniences' "Hit The Wall" by Ike Holter, directed by Eric Hoff. (photo credit: Ryan Borque) Brian Dennehy and Nathan Lane star in Goodman Theatre's "The Iceman Cometh" by Eugene O'Neill, directed by Robert Falls. (photo credit: Liz Lauren) Brandon Dahlquist, Shannon Cochran and Jonathan Weir star in Writers' Theatre's "A Little Night Music" by Stephen Sondheim, directed by William Brown. (photo credit: Michael Brosilow)
Adam Poss and Madrid St. Angelo star in star in Victory Gardens' "Oedipus el Rey" by Luis Alfaro, directed by Chay Yew. (photo credit: Michael Brosilow) Chiara Mangiameli and Rick Bayless star in Lookingglass Theatre's "Rick Bayless in Cascabel" by Heidi Stillman and Tony Hernandez and Rick Bayless. (photo credit: Sean Williams) Lyric Opera of Chicago's "Show Boat", conducted by John DeMain, directed by Francesca Zambrello. (photo credit: Robert Kusel) Jason Danieley as George and Carmen Cusack as Dot, in Chicago Shakespeare's "Sunday in the Park with George" by Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine, directed by Gary Griffin. (photo credit: Liz Lauren) Richard Cotovsky and Preston Tate Jr. star in Mary-Arrchie Theatre's "Superior Donuts" by Tracy Letts.  (photo credit: Greg Rothman)


See summaries and video

January 6, 2013 | 0 Comments More

Review: Will You Stand Up? (Erasing the Distance)

Jasondra Johnson, James Earl Jones II, Maura Kidwell, Adam Poss and Craig Thompson star in Erasing the Distance's "Will You Stand Up?", directed by Jason Economus.       
Will You Stand Up? 

Adapted by Brenda Barrie, Pat Curtis, Brighid O’Shaughnessy and Craig Thompson
Directed by Jason Economus  
at Center on Halsted, 3656 N Halsted (map)
thru Nov 20  |  tickets: $10-$20   |  more info
Check for half-price tickets 
        Read entire review

November 16, 2012 | 0 Comments More

Review: Animals Out of Paper (Steppenwolf Theatre)


Praise for what unfolds


(left to right) Adam Poss and Amy J. Carle in Animals Out of Paper by Rajiv Joseph, directed by Jaclynn Jutting, part of Steppenwolf’s NEXT UP 2011 Repertory.  Photo by Michael Brosilow.

Steppenwolf Theatre presents
Animals Out of Paper
Written by Rajiv Joseph
Directed by Jaclynn Jutting
Steppenwolf Garage Theatre, 1624 N. Halsted (map)
through June 19  |  tickets: $20  |  more info 

Reviewed by K.D. Hopkins

It sounds cliché to say that a play is both funny and bittersweet. The thing is, rarely have I found a play to fulfill that description. Animals Out of Paper by Rajiv Joseph presents a truly human story and plays out the truth that big revelations come in small ways.

In the opening scene we have Ilana who is living in a rat’s nest apartment. As Ilana, Amy J. Carle is luminescent in her grief and anger. The shadows of depression are all around her in dirty Chinese takeout boxes and half eaten pizza on paper plates. Ilana is a world famous Origami artist and her life is consumed by paper. There are hanging mobiles of cranes and most prominently a gorgeous hawk over the sofa.

Ilana is sitting at rock bottom eating out of a dog dish with chopsticks. Ms. Carle plays the character as frightened and mistrustful verging on the paranoid.   Her door buzzes and she looks at the buzzer intently. It’s a nice touch that she has taken the buzzer off of the wall and it sits on top of a stack of paper. She finally tentatively answers the intercom and there begins a very funny exchange between Ilana and Andy (Derek Hasenstab). Andy is from am origami association and wants to deliver an award to Ilana. It’s pouring rain outside and Andy persists until Ilana relents and buzzes him up. Their first face-to-face exchange is reminiscent of the Nichols and May work "Not Enough Rope" where a suicidal woman asks her neighbor for enough rope to hang herself.

Andy is a calculus teacher and origami enthusiast who is thunderstruck to be in Ilana’s presence. Hasenstab is heartbreakingly brilliant in this performance. His character’s energy bounces off of him like sparks in Ilana’s presence. In fact, those sparks are dangerous in Ilana’s world built of paper and combustible grief. Andy keeps at her, determined to stay in her presence, and events are slowly revealed that point to the reasons Ilana has made her retreat from the world and her art.

Amy J. Carle in Animals Out of Paper by Rajiv Joseph, directed by Jaclynn Jutting, part of Steppenwolf’s NEXT UP 2011 Repertory.  Photo by Michael Brosilow.

She and her husband divorced because somehow he let the three-legged and toothless dog run away. The dog had rescued them from a fire in the cottage they shared by literally gnawing at the door until is teeth came out and his gums were filled with splinters. It sounds over the top, but in Amy Carles’ skilled hands it makes you want to cry. Andy reveals that he literally counts his blessings and keeps them in a tattered notebook in his back pocket (another moment for tears welling up in one’s eyes). Andy’s account brings the realization that we are trained to look for huge revelations, all the while missing the beautiful little miracles that make up a life well lived.

Andy convinces Ilana to mentor one of his most brilliant calculus students who also has a gift for origami. Ilana relents and we are introduced to Suresh, a teenager hiding his true self behind a cool hip hop veneer.  He drops the act when dealing with his family who depend on him for everything (his family literally cannot seem to thaw out a meal unless they call Suresh on the phone). As Suresh, Adam Poss is a brilliant chameleon of emotions and unexpected tenderness as he seeks an escape from his grief and approval from Ilana.

Their first exchange is both tense and hilarious. Ilana doesn’t speak hip hop nor does she understand the rebellion and anger that Suresh feels because she has been wrapped up in a cocoon of her own disastrous choices. Suresh tears away at that cocoon. He challenges, frightens, teaches, and of course falls for Ilana because she doesn’t leave him.

The love story that develops between Ilana and Andy could easily have been a predictable “they all lived happily with Suresh as their adopted protégé/son”. Instead, Rajiv Joseph‘s writing is really extraordinary, as he digs under the surface of each character and develops complicated layers and internal conflicts. It’s refreshingly different from the American-styled melodramas of love triangles gone awry. Ilana and Andy really do feel love and trust for one another and Ms. Carle does a wonderful job of transforming her emotional character. The shadows literally lift because she embodies the whole character.

When Ilana invites Suresh instead of Andy to an origami conference in Nagasaki the energy shifts a bit. Andy is disappointed but encouraging of his student Suresh. Once again Derek Hasenstab projects such an open heart and love for both of them. Andy has an innocent quality that remains unsullied, even counting his breakup with his only other girlfriend as a blessing. It’s not a pollyanna stance. It is trust and believing that he is witnessing a miracle in his life for him, Ilana, and Suresh.

Ilana comes to depend on Suresh more and he calls her out on her inability to fold. She has been granted a project to create a model sleeve for a human heart by a cardiology association. Suresh mocks her origami heart and then brings her a perfect model. The dynamic between Carle and Poss is tense and it feels appropriately wrong as they grow closer. Ilana is falling for his genius and ability. Suresh is falling for her. When they arrive in Nagasaki, a change comes over Suresh. He is spellbound by the death and destruction that occurred in WWII but unaffected by an old man weeping at the beauty and skill of his origami.

The climax of the play is quietly explosive. That is an oxymoron, but a lot of the conflicts become internalized in Animals Out of Paper. They seethe below the surface, the characters become as if they were made out of paper. They are delicate yet complex, folding in unexpected ways, and quite combustible.

This is one of the best shows that I have seen this year. Next Up shows sometimes go on to become mainstage shows at Steppenwolf. This is definitely one that is deserving. The actors are brilliant. The direction by Jaclynn Jutting is smooth and brilliantly paced.

Rating: ★★★★

(left to right) Derek Hasenstab and Amy J. Carle in Animals Out of Paper by Rajiv Joseph, directed by Jaclynn Jutting, part of Steppenwolf’s NEXT UP 2011 Repertory.  Photo by Michael Brosilow.

Animals Out of Paper is part of Steppenwolf’s Next Up series – three plays done in repertory in the Garage next door to the main theater, highlighting students from Northwestern University’s MFA Program.  The shows run through June 19th and include Why We’re Born by Lucy Thurber and Venus by Suzan-Lori Parks. For additional information visit www.steppenwolf.org.

June 17, 2011 | 0 Comments More