Tag: Beth Wolf

Review: Hamlet (Midsommer Flight)

Joe Sergio and Samual Cheeseman star as Laertes and Hamlet in Hamlet,  Midsommer (ZW)            

         

 

Hamlet

Written by William Shakespeare 
at various city parks (see schedule)
thru Aug 27  |  tix: FREE  |  more info   
       
     

July 10, 2017 | 0 Comments More

Review: The Life of Galileo (Remy Bumppo Theatre)

Kelsey Brennen in The Life of Galileo, Remy Bumppo Theatre          
  
        
The Life of Galileo

Written by Bertolt Brecht
Translated by David Hare
Greenhouse Theater, 2257 N. Lincoln (map)
thru May 1  |  tix: $42-$57  | more info
       
Check for half-price tickets   
    

April 11, 2016 | 0 Comments More

Review: Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead (Promethean Theatre Ensemble)

Nick Lake and Tom McGrath star in Promethean Theatre Ensemble's "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead" by Tom Stoppard, directed by Beth Wolf.  (photo credit: Johnny Knight)        
      
Rosencrantz and
   Guildenstern Are Dead

Written by Tom Stoppard  
Directed by Beth Wolf
at Athenaeum Theatre, 2936 N. Southport (map)
thru May 24  |  tickets: $12-$22   |  more info
       
Check for half-price tickets 
    
        
                   Read review
     

May 9, 2014 | 0 Comments More

Review: Romeo and Juliet (Midsommer Flight)

Ashlee Edgemon and Brian Scannel star in Midsommer Flight's "Romeo and Juliet" by William Shakespeare, directed by Beth Wolf.        
       
Romeo and Juliet 

Written by William Shakespeare  
Directed by Beth Wolf
at Schreiber Park (map) and Touhy Park (map)
thru Aug 18  |  tickets: FREE   |  more info 
         
     
         
        Read entire review
     

August 2, 2013 | 0 Comments More

Review: The Caucasian Chalk Circle (Promethean Theatre Ensemble)

Promethean Theatre Ensemble's "Caucasian Chalk Circle" by Bertolt Brecht, directed by Ed Rutherford.        
       
The Caucasian Chalk Circle 

Written by Bertolt Brecht 
Original music by Matt Kahler
Directed by Ed Rutherford
at City Lit Theatre, 1020 W. Bryn Mawr (map)
thru Feb 9  |  tickets: $20   |  more info
       
Check for half-price tickets 
    
        
        Read entire review
     

January 13, 2013 | 0 Comments More

Review: A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Midsommer Flight)

(left to right) Jeannie Saracino as Puck and Jared Dennis as Oberon, in Midsommer Flight's "A Midsummer Night's Dream" by William Shakespeare, directed by Beth Wolf. (photo credit: Claire Monson)        
       
A Midsummer Night’s Dream 

Written by William Shakespeare 
Directed by Beth Wolf
at Touhy Park, 7348 N. Paulina (map)
thru Aug 26  |  tickets: FREE   |  more info 
     
         
        Read entire review
     

August 19, 2012 | 1 Comment More

Review: Seascape with Sharks and Dancer (Promethean Theatre Ensemble)

Nick Lake and Anne Korajczyk - Promethean Ensemble       
      
Seascape with Sharks
      and Dancer
 

Written by Don Nigro
Directed by Beth Wolf
at Live Bait Theatre, 3914 N. Clark  (map)
thru Dec 10  |  tickets: $20   |  more info

Check for half-price tickets 
    
        
        Read entire review
     

November 19, 2011 | 0 Comments More

Review: Bury the Dead (Promethean Theatre Ensemble)

  
  

Promethean Ensemble misfires in play about war

  
  

Quinn White, Carl Lindberg, Jared Fernley, Joel Kim Booster, Brian Pastor, Dylan Stuckey - Promethean Ensemble's 'Bury the Dead'

  
Promethean Theatre Ensemble presents
  
Bury the Dead
  
Wirtten by Irwin Shaw
Directed by Beth Wolf
at The Artistic Home, 3914 N. Clark (map)
thru May 21  |  tickets: $20  |  more info

Reviewed by Keith Ecker

When Irwin Shaw penned Bury the Dead in 1936, World War I was still lodged like an artillery shell in the American psyche. An astounding nine million combatants lost their lives fighting in the trenches of Europe in what would be the last war largely fought on foot. At the time, no one could conceive that greater methods of mass destruction were on the horizon and that more death lie in waiting.

Brit Cooper Robinson and Joel Kim Booster. Photo by Tom McGrath of TCMcG Photography.Although the play is not specifically about any war (according to the script, it is about a fictitious war that has not yet been fought), it is about the massive human toll that war takes and the desire for a society to forget the dead in an effort to pacify the psychic pain. This phenomenon that certainly existed post-World War I remains today. But today’s wars are oranges compared to yesterday’s apple battles. As societies have bled over borders and become global communities and mass communication is a "Like" button away, the dynamics of war that Shaw highlights do not stand the test of time. Vastly enhanced mobility and weapons technology have drastically reduced the number of causalities. Although military deaths are still a topic for discussion, personal freedoms, religious zealotry, resource acquisition, financial costs and nation building are the predominant concerns of today.

This is unfortunate considering the Promethean Theatre Ensemble decided to take the script, virtually untouched, and plop it into the present world (or more accurately 2013). What results is one of the most hilariously ill-conceived updated period pieces I have ever seen. Just take the opening scene. Two soldiers, presumably in either Iraq or Afghanistan, are shoveling sand graves for their fallen comrades as their sergeant stands watch. They begin smart-talking to each other, commenting on the smell of the bodies and the exhaustion felt from physical labor. But instead of speaking in the contemporary vernacular, the two soldiers sport hilariously anachronistic Brooklyn accents and use such words as "gyped" and "stiff." This would be fine if we were observing a couple of wise guys hanging out at the Black and Tan in 1930, but it’s just blatantly bizarre for 21st-century soldiers.

Besides the dialogue, which is only made more cringe-worthy by the scenery-chewing cast, the artistry of the story is non-existent. David Mamet has written that any play that serves to grandstand is not a play worth producing. Shaw’s play is one giant anti-war polemic. There is no devil’s advocate, no counter view that is meant to challenge our own preconceived notions of war. It is just a long diatribe that preaches to the choir. And today’s choir is too intelligent for this kind of preachy pandering. Challenge us. Make us question our views. The last thing an audience wants to do is wallow in the sense that we were right all along. When a soldier ruminates that "Kids shouldn’t be dead," you can just feel the audience collectively shouting "Duh!"

     
Shawna Tucker and Quinn White in Promethean Theatre Ensemble's 'Bury the Dead' by Irwin Shaw. Photo by Tom McGrath of TCMcG Photography. "Bury the Dead" Cast in Promethean Theatre Ensemble's Irwin Shaw play. Photo by Tom McGrath of TCMcG Photography.

The play is about seven dead soldiers who choose to stand in defiance and refuse to be buried and forgotten. In the second act, the military—in a remarkably chauvinistic move—contacts the soldier’s wives, mothers and sisters to coax them into the grave. What follows is a series of two-person scenes with more wistful gazing and maudlin emoting than a Lifetime movie. If you’re a fan of repetitious dialogue (e.g., "Let me see your face. Just let me see your face!"), be prepared to get your fill.

With Bury the Dead, Promethean Theatre has produced the equivalent of taking “Gone with the Wind” and setting it in China. This confusing and poorly thought out concept is further harmed by uneven performances and heavy-handed direction. Yes, the script certainly has its flaws, but with some clever updates, it could still have made for an entertaining watch. But save for a Katy Perry reference, the script seems strangely naive, turning what should be a tense drama into a bizarre farce.

  
  
Rating: ★½
  
  

Marco Minichiello and David Fink in Promethean Theatre Ensemble's 'Bury the Dead' by Irwin Shaw. Photo by Tom McGrath of TCMcG Photography.

Promethean Theatre Ensemble’s Bury the Dead, by Irwin Shaw, continues through May 21st at The Artistic Home, with performances Thursdays-Saturdays at 8pm and Sundays at 3pm.  Tickets are $20, and can be purchased by phone (800-838-3006) or online. For more information, visit prometheantheatre.org.

All photos by Tom McGrath of TCMcG Photography, © 2011.

     
April 26, 2011 | 0 Comments More