Tag: Diana Raiselis

Review: Punk (The New Colony)

Kyle Encinas, Aaron Sanchez, Evie Riojas and Daniel Shtivelberg star in Punk, The New Colony            
      

  

Punk

Written by Michael Allen Harris
The Den Theatre, 1333 N. Milwaukee (map)
thru Nov 5  |  tix: $20  |  more info
       
Check for half-price tickets   
     

October 12, 2017 | 0 Comments More

Review: Airline Highway (Steppenwolf Theatre)

Judith Roberts stars as Miss Ruby in the Steppenwolf Theatre's world premiere "Airline Highway" by Lisa D'Amour, directed by Joe Mantello. (photo credit: Michael Brosilow)        
      
Airline Highway

Written by Lisa D’Amour 
Directed by Joe Mantello
at Steppenwolf Theatre, 1650 N. Halsted (map)
thru Feb 14  |  tickets: $20-$86   |  more info
       
Check for half-price tickets 
    
        
                   Read review 
     

January 19, 2015 | 0 Comments More

Review: She Kills Monsters (Buzz22 Chicago)

Jessica London-Shields, Morgan Maher and Sara Sawicki star in Buzz22 Chicago's "She Kills Monsters" by Qui Nguyen, directed by Scott Weinstein. (photo credit: Michael Brosilow)        
       
She Kills Monsters

Written by Qui Ngyuen   
Directed by Scott Weinstein
at Steppenwolf Garage, 1650 N. Halsted (map)
thru April 21   |  tickets: $   |  more info
       
Check for half-price tickets 
    
        
        Read entire review
     

March 17, 2013 | 1 Comment More

REVIEW: State of the Union (Strawdog Theatre)

 

An intriguing political chess game

 

 Strawdog Theatre - State of the Union - 10/6/10 

Photo by Chris Ocken 
Copyright 2010 - www.ockenphotography.com

   
Strawdog Theatre presents
   
State of the Union
   
Written by Russel Crouse and Howard Lindsay
Directed by
Geoff Button
at Strawdog Theatre, 3829 N. Broadway (map)
through November 13  |  tickets: $15-$20  |  more info

Reviewed by Keith Ecker 

For a political play to matter much, it must prove its relevance beyond its genesis. These dramas must rise above the particulars of their time-sensitive plots and reveal to us a greater truth, something about the human condition or the faults of our society. State of the Union, the 1946 Pulitzer Prize-winning comedy, is an example of this brilliant kind of evergreen political theatre.

Written by Russel Crouse and Howard Lindsay, the play may be rooted in mid-20th century politics, but its tale of political gaming and pandering is as true today as it ever was then. And infused with the talent of the Strawdog Theatre Company, State of the Union manages to not only serve as editorial but as a charmingly funny piece of theatre.

Strawdog Theatre - State of the Union - 10/6/10 

Photo by Chris Ocken 
Copyright 2010 - www.ockenphotography.com The play centers around political outsider and businessman Grant Matthews (Michael Dailey). Republican political insiders are priming him to be the dark horse candidate in the upcoming presidential election. This includes Kay Thorndyke (Kristina Johnson), a Republican newspaper editor and not-so-secret mistress to Matthews.

Yet, Matthews gives the political bigwigs reason for hesitation when he hits the speaker circuit where he talks about timely issues from his heart rather than from any party’s platform. Much of this honesty is delivered at the behest of his wife, Mary (Kendra Thulin), who like her husband is an idealist. She believes that politicians serve their own self-interest rather than the interests of the people, and upon finding out that her husband may be running for the presidency, she pushes him to stick to his populist convictions.

Unfortunately, playing politics is a dirty game. As we get a peak behind the political curtain, we see just how much strategizing, manipulating and palm greasing actually takes place. This puts Grant in quite the pickle, pitting him against his party, his ideals, his mistress and his wife.

Although I’ve never been a politician, I can confidently say that State of the Union doesn’t seem to be too far from the truth. Look at modern-day outsider candidates like Nevada’s Sharron Angle and Delaware’s Christine O’Donnell, who, once receiving their party’s nomination, were quick to start spewing the same Republican talking points. The only difference is that Grant is a likeable and intelligent candidate, whereas his real-life counterparts are divisive and seemingly simple.

Strawdog Theatre - State of the Union - 10/6/10 

Photo by Chris Ocken 
Copyright 2010 - www.ockenphotography.com Strawdog has assembled an amazing cast. Dailey portrays grant as a sympathetic idealist. The kindness and sincerity he brings to the role helps us identify with him despite the fact that he’s a flawed husband. Likewise, Thulin provides Mary with a boldness that makes her a believably powerful force against the chummy, political insider boys’ club. Other standout performances include BF Helman as political strategist Jim Conover and Anderson Lawfer as the sassy journalist/campaign manager Spike MacManus.

Geoff Button’s direction is commendable, especially given the sheer number of entrances and exits he has to manage throughout the play, especially in the third act, which is one of those party scenes that literally fills the room with colorful characters.

If the upcoming elections have you tiring of the theatre of politics, then why not check out some insightful political theatre? Along with voting, go see Strawdog’s snappy and relevant production of State of the Union.

   
   
Rating: ★★★½
   
   

Strawdog Theatre - State of the Union - 10/6/10 

Photo by Chris Ocken 
Copyright 2010 - www.ockenphotography.com

   
   
October 20, 2010 | 0 Comments More