Tag: Elise Mayfield

Review: 5 Lesbians Eating a Quiche (The New Colony and Chicago Commercial Collective)

Caitlin Chuckta, Rachel Farmer, Kate Carson-Groner, Megan Johns, Elise Mayfield and Thea Luxe star in The New Colony's "5 Lesbians Eating a Quiche" by Andrew Hobgood and Evan Linder, directed by Sarah Gitenstein. (photo credit: Michael Courier)        
5 Lesbians Eating a Quiche

Written by Andrew Hobgood and Evan Linder
Directed by Sarah Gitenstein
at Chopin Theatre, 1543 W. Division (map)
thru June 29  |  tickets: $35   |  more info
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May 28, 2014 | 0 Comments More

Review: The Life and Death of Madam Barker (Red Tape Theatre)

Molly Brennan stars in Red Tape Theatre's "The Life and Death of Madam Barker" by Brooke Allen, music and lyrics by John Fournier, directed by Eric Hoff. (photo by Bridget Schultz)        
The Life and Death
          of Madam Barker

Written by Brooke Allen
Music and Lyrics by John Fournier 
Directed by Eric Hoff
at Red Tape Theatre, 621 W. Belmont (map)
thru Nov 10  |  tickets: $25   |  more info
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October 19, 2013 | 1 Comment More

Review: Fight Girl Battle World (Infusion Theatre)

Kai Young, Sheila O’Connor and Kevin Anderson star in Infusion Theatre's "Fight Girl Battle World" by Qui Nguyen, directed by Mitch Golob. (photo credit: Johnny Knight)        
Fight Girl Battle World 

Written by Qui Nguyen 
Directed by Mitch Golob
at Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont (map)
thru June 16  |  tickets: $15-$25   |  more info
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May 18, 2013 | 0 Comments More

Review: Brewed (The Ruckus & Tympanic Theatre)

Erin Myers and Charlotte Mae Ellison star in The Ruckus' and Tympanic Theatre's "Brewed" by Scott T. Barsotti, directed by Anna C. Bahow. (photo credit: Gerard Van Halsema)        

Written by Scott T. Barsotti
Directed by Anna C. Bahow  
at Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont (map)
thru March 24  |  tickets: $17   |  more info
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March 13, 2013 | 0 Comments More

Review: Don’t Give That Beast a Name (The Mammals)

Erin Orr as Marie, in The Mammals' "Don't Give That Beast a Name," by Randall Colburn and Bob Fisher, continues through November 3rd at Zoo Studio.        
Don’t Give That Beast a Name 

Written by Randall Colburn and Bob Fisher
Directed by Bob Fisher
at Zoo Studio, 4001 N. Ravenswood (map)
thru Nov 3  |  tickets: $20   |  more info
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September 25, 2012 | 0 Comments More

Review: The Improv Play (Infusion Theatre)

Kevin Crispin and Lea Pascal - Infusion Theatre Improv Play       
The Improv Play 

Written by Randall Colburn  
Directed by Mitch Golob
DCA Storefront Thtr, 66 E. Washington (map)
thru May 20  |  tickets: $15-$25   |  more info
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April 16, 2012 | 1 Comment More

REVIEW: The Gay American (The Ruckus)

Sexual fear and loathing in American politics


The Ruckus presents
The Gay American
by Kristian O’Hare
directed by
Allison Shoemaker
the side project, 1439 W. Jarvis (map)
through May 26  tickets: $10  |  more info

reviewed by Paige Listerud

Washington D.C. is the perfect place for a gay sex scandal. The nexus of American political power, the district is already so rife with desperation, loneliness, self-loathing, overweening hypocrisy and insidious self-compromise that the closeted  queers fit right in. Hand in glove. It’s both here, and in the benighted environs of New Jersey, that Kristian O’Hare’s dark, freewheeling satire The Gay American takes its stand. Director Allison Shoemaker has pulled together a sharp and seductive cast, luring us with laser-like sarcasm and poignant reflection into TheGayAmerican_Production11the small studio space at the side project theatre space in Rogers Park, where The Ruckus has set up shop for this world premiere.

Their production will sell out every night, if there is any justice in this world. The Gay American is top-drawer, savage American comedy. Its script is an outrageous, non-stop interrogation of the value of gay identity politics at its intersection with its closeted presence on the national political scene. Coming out, while a cornerstone in the valorous struggle for sexual identity equality, yellows sickly with corruption, duplicity, and solipsism in the hands of a politico as sleazy and self-promoting as Jim McGreevey (Neal Starbird).

Scene: our nation’s capitol. Gay pages suck up to powerful Washington players in the pursuit of a political career wherein they get to be the top. A closeted power player and vociferous foe of sexual predators, Mark Foley (Walter Brody) keeps a stable of young pages that he can text suggestive comments to back and forth during their term in the page program. After page graduation, once the boys are legal enough, he meets up with them for sex at the hotel room that is “the second most favorite address in D.C.” New Jersey Governor McGreevey, an up-and-coming presidential hopeful, siphons off a Page (Aaron Dean) to serve as his personal aide, whether for his own personal service, or to service him and his wife Dina (Julie Cowden) during one of their “Friday Night Specials”–starting with drinks and jalapeno poppers at no less a place than TGIF Fridays.

All the above is true and established fact. In some respects, O’Hare’s wild and absurd script has written itself and there is no way that he can top the inanity that passes for political reality in America. But the real charm lies in his capacity to craft 3-dimensional comic characters; allowing them softer, sadder, even more poetic moments, while never letting up on the cynical, mercurial rationales by which they sell themselves and each other out. The rest of the charm relies on the crisp and exacting pace with which this show is executed. If there’s an award for lightening fast scene changes in a mercilessly cramped space, this cast and crew have earned it.

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Beyond scene changes, what a joy to witness a complex and sophisticated script fleshed out by such a brilliantly comic cast. Starbird’s Jim McGreevey looks like he has sprung, fully formed, from the New Jersey muck. His office—his real office—is a bathroom stall, for which he explains his preference on two separate occasions: “I love the bathroom stall. It reminds me of my Catholic upbringing,” and “Remember Clark Kent and Superman? That’s the way I feel about bathroom stalls. I enter it Irish Catholic, middle class, married, a normal guy . . . and after a nameless fuck, I leave it feeling like Superman.” For his part, Walter Brody looks so much like Mark Foley he had me doing double takes all evening long. He also captures the fluid ease with which a true Washington player makes the switch from rank exploiter to pillar of morality in 2.8 seconds.

Joshua Davis renders a deliciously tender and corruptible Golan Cipal. He’s the lover that McGreevey continually mistakes for Mexican and, in a 9/11 environment, promotes to homeland security advisor at a six-figure salary–even though Cipal is still an Israeli citizen. O’Hare is ready to play the romance card regarding Cipal’s involvement with McGreevey and Davis digs deep into the role’s contradictions,  evolving Golan’s progress from warm, poetic naïveté to gullible and overwhelmed self-compromise for one’s lover to immersion in self-loathing rage from a lover scorned.

TheGayAmerican_Production14But his rage cannot match the post-partum blackness in the soul of Dina McGreevey (Julie Cowden). I might have wished that O’Hare could have played up the sleaze factor a little more for this character. Certainly the real Dina Matos McGreevey deserves it. O’Hare relies just a little too much on “poor, betrayed woman” tropes for his Dina. Only once does he have her acknowledge her own complicity in her lavender marriage. Plus, a little research reveals that those “Friday Night Specials” were going on well before marriage. Nevertheless, Cowden’s performance is immaculate in its searing emotional truth. Her boozy, pill-popping chats with Jersey gal pal Patty (Elise Mayfield) become especially memorable, particularly when Patty morphs into Constance Wilde. Now that’s a side to Constance that Oscar may never have seen.

Aaron Dean and Freddie Donovan play a perfect pair of congressional pages—perfect bookends portraying the young gay have and have-nots in Washington’s political game playing. Stevie Chaddock gives us a sympathetic and vulnerable Morag–ignored by her parents as they enjoy the “cup quality” of their coffee, lost in the brave new world of cyber-dating, hoping to gain something from exploiting herself before others exploit her. I might have wished for more empowerment for Morag, Page, and Philly Buster but that will never come to pass in this world. No, in this dark, gay tale of Washington sexual shenanigans everyone loses, especially when they think they are winning.

Rating: ★★★½



May 19, 2010 | 0 Comments More