Tag: Andrew White

Review: Beyond Caring (Lookingglass Theatre)

J. Nicole Brooks and Edwin Lee Gibson star as Tracy and Phil in Beyond Caring, Lookingglass Theatre          
      
  

Beyond Caring

Written and Directed by Alexander Zeldin
Lookingglass Theatre, 821 N. Michigan (map)
thru May 7  |  tix: $40-$75  |  more info
       
Check for half-price tickets   
     

April 8, 2017 | 1 Comment More

Review: life sucks. (Lookingglass Theatre)

Danielle Zuckerman and Penelope Walker as Sonia and Pickles in life sucks, Lookingglass           
      
   

life sucks.

Written by Aaron Posner
Lookingglass Theatre, 821 N. Michigan (map)
thru Nov 6  |  tix: $45-$65  |  more info
       
Check for half-price tickets   
     

September 21, 2016 | 0 Comments More

Review: Treasure Island (Lookingglass Theatre)

John Babbo stars as Jim Hawkins in Lookingglass Theatre's "Treasure Island," adapted and directed by Mary Zimmerman. (photo credit: Liz Lauren)         
      
Treasure Island 

Adapted and Directed by Mary Zimmerman
Lookingglass Theatre, 831 N. Michigan (map)
thru Jan 31 |  tix: $55-$85  | more info
       
Check for half-price tickets   

November 8, 2015 | 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)          
      
1984

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: In the Garden – A Darwinian Love Story (Lookingglass Theatre)

Andrew White and Rebecca Spence star in Lookingglass Theatre's "In the Garden: A Darwinian Love Story" by Sara Gmitter, directed by Jessica Thebus. (photo credit: Liz Lauren)       
      
In the Garden:
   A Darwinian Love Story

Written by Sara Gmitter 
Directed by Jessica Thebus
Lookingglass Theatre, 821 N. Michigan (map)
thru June 29  |  tickets: $45-$70   |  more info
       
Check for half-price tickets 
    
        
                   Read review
     

June 1, 2014 | 0 Comments More

Review: Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo (Lookingglass Theatre)

JJ Phillips stars in Lookingglass Theatre's "Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo" by Rajiv Joseph, directed by Heidi Stillman. (photo credit: Liz Lauren)        
       
Bengal Tiger at the
            Baghdad Zoo
 

Written by Rajiv Joseph  
Directed by Heidi Stillman
Lookingglass Theatre, 821 N. Michigan (map)
thru March 17  |  tickets: $36-$70   |  more info
       
Check for half-price tickets 
    
        
        Read entire review
     

February 13, 2013 | 0 Comments More

Review: The Last Act of Lilka Kadison (Lookingglass)

     
     

Now extended through August 21st!

Recent Tony Award not Lookingglass’ last act

  
  

Marilyn Dodds Frank (Lilith Fisher), Nora Fiffer (Lilka Kadison) and Chance Bone (Ben Ari Adler) in Lookingglass Theatre's "The Last Act of Lilka Kadison". (photo: Sean Williams)

  
Lookingglass Theatre presents
   
   
The Last Act of Lilka Kadison
   
Written by Nicola Behrman, David Kersnar, Abbie Phillips
         Heidi Stillman and Andrew White
Directed by David Kersnar
at Lookingglass Theatre, Water Tower Water Works. (map)
through July 24 August 21  |  tickets: $30-$58  |  more info

Reviewed by Barry Eitel 

This weekend, most of the people that put Lookingglass Theatre Company on the map were not at the opening for their latest show, The Last Act of Lilka Kadison. Instead, they were sitting in the Beacon Theatre in New York City—that other theatre town—scooping up the 2011 Tony Award for Best Regional Theatre. This marks the fifth such award belonging to Chicago, making one wonder if maybe the whole Tony venture should shift more Midwest. That’s not too likely happen, no matter how much tepid material Broadway churns out (with a few bright spots, of course).

Marilyn Dodds Frank (Lilith Fisher), Usman Ally (Menelik Kahn), Chance Bone (Ben Ari Adler) and Nora Fiffer (Lilka Kadison) in Lookingglass Theatre's "The Last Act of Lilka Kadison". (photo: Sean Williams)Lilka Kadison, then, finds itself in an odd position. Considering the timing, it should prove that Lookingglass deserves that little statue. The play, collectively written by Nicola Behrman, David Kersnar (who also directs), Abbie Phillips, Heidi Stillman and Andrew White, is stylistically different from any Lookingglass piece I’ve seen—it’s in proscenium. But what seems like a conservative choice on the surface is really a storytelling maneuver. Kadison is still infused with the whimsy-tinged yet socially conscious ethos that made the company famous. While the story is jerky, there’s a heart-tugging journey with plenty of breathtaking moments.

As you might expect with a play containing the words “The Last Act” in the title, Kadison is a concise meditation on death. And life. Kersnar and friends based the piece on the writings of the late Johanna Cooper, who worked with Phillips on a radio series called “One People, Many Stories.” The duo recorded the stories of Jews from all over the planet and put them on the radio. The far-reaching narrative of Cooper’s tales resonate with this script, which traverses the Atlantic and the multiple lives of Lilka.

The play splits focus between two periods in the life of the titular female. In one, she’s a young, romantic Jewish girl (Nora Fiffer) living in Poland days before the Nazis strolled in. The other is the “last act,” where we find an embittered, cranky old woman (Marilyn Dodds Frank) left to die in her cluttered house. Her only companion is her live-in caretaker, Menelik (Usman Ally). Moving throughout both these realms is the charming Ben Ari Adler (Chance Bone), Lilka’s first love. He was there to protect her during the invasion and his spirit later haunts her, begging her to tell their unknown story to someone.

     
Nora Fiffer (Lilka Kadison), Chance Bone (Ben Ari Adler) and Usman Ally (Menelik Kahn) in Lookingglass Theatre's "The Last Act of Lilka Kadison". (photo: Sean Williams) Chance Bone (Ben Ari Adler) and Nora Fiffer (Lilka Kadison) do the dip in Lookingglass Theatre's "The Last Act of Lilka Kadison". (photo: Sean Williams)

Nora Fiffer (Lilka Kadison) and Chance Bone (Ben Ari Adler) in Lookingglass Theatre's "The Last Act of Lilka Kadison". (photo: Sean Williams)

The narrative moves along at a chipper pace, clocking in at 90 minutes with no intermission. The obligatory quirky theatricality here is the show’s homage to Yiddish theatre of the 1930’s. Adler drags around a toy theatre where he puts up elaborate puppet shows and schemes his larger theatrical ventures. Kersnar throws too much time and attention on these moments, though they never get close to boring. The actual love story is ill-developed, jumping through the courtship at an unbelievable pace. I can chalk some of this up to radical world circumstances and the story gets the emotional job done in the end, but I was longing for some more scenes detailing Lilka and Adler’s relationship.

Each of the performers holds their own against the technical hullabaloo going on. Bone is the highlight, exuding the urbanity of an old time movie hero, even when he’s operating puppets or doing some magic trick. Fiffer and Frank are interesting foils and both funny in their own way. Ally steals his fair share of scenes as the much-abused nurse. Props to the writing committee for giving Melenik enough depth so he’s not just another throw-away supporting character.

Kadison works because of its heart, plain and simple—though the delightful stage pictures help. The play’s final message is terse yet touching—give your mom a call.

  
  
Rating: ★★★
  
  

Extra Credit: Check out this production’s wonderful study guide!!

   

Chance Bone (Ben Ari Adler) and Nora Fiffer (Lilka Kadison) with their toy theater, in Lookingglass Theatre's "The Last Act of Lilka Kadison". (photo: Sean Williams)

All photos by Sean Williams

     
     
June 13, 2011 | 1 Comment More