Tag: Elizabeth MacDougald

Review: The Invisible Scarlet O’Neil (Babes With Blades)

Elizabeth MacDougald and Ashley Fox star as Evanna Keil and Judy in The Invisible Scarlet O'Neil             
       
     

The Invisible Scarlet O’Neil

Written by Barbara Lhota
at Factory Theater, 1623 W. Howard (map)
thru Oct 14  |  tix: $15-$25  |  more info
       
Check for half-price tickets   
     


    
  

Heroine uses power of invisibility to champion
real-life visibility of women

  

Chloe Baldwin stars as Scarlet O'Neil in The Invisible Scarlet O'Neil, Babes With Blades

    
Babes With Blades Theatre Company presents
    
The Invisible Scarlet O’Neil

Review by Johanna Dalton

The Invisible Scarlet O’Neil is a light-hearted and highly entertaining tale that packs an important message as well as an action-packed punch. Based on the beloved 1940’s comic strip by Chicagoan Russell Stamm, the play takes place in post-WWII days. Through a mishap in her father’s top secret research lab, Scarlet O’Neil acquires the superpower of invisibility, promising Dr. O’Neil she would never use it. Much as she wants to honor that promise, Scarlet is faced with dire consequences only she can avert by putting her special power to work to save the day.

Ashley Fox (Mobster Judy), Lynne Baker (Doris) and  Elizabeth MacDougald (Evanna)In the opening scene it is revealed that Dr. O’Neil’s ground-breaking research includes a mind-control weapon embedded in a common women’s cosmetic. Though the project is scrapped as too dangerous, lab assistant Evanna Keil (Elizabeth MacDougald) concocts a scheme to sell it to the KGB, setting off a series of engaging and often hilarious events.

After her father’s death Scarlet (Chloe Baldwin) has taken a job at the City News when she learns of Evanna’s evil plan to steal the secret documents she needs to perfect her mind-control product. To protect her father’s reputation and foil Evanna’s plans, she also needs to protect the team that is trying to help her: her mysterious landlady Doris Carmichael (Lynne Baker) who gets kidnapped but has a few tricks up her sleeve; Hedy Labarr (Lisa Herceg) who takes Dr. O’Neil’s role of heading the project; Dr. Greta Hertzfeldt (also played by Baker), one of the scientists with a crush on her colleague, Dr. Percy Spencer (Kirk Osgood), who is lovable but no help; and a bright young prodigy Sarah Blue (Margaux Fournier, in her impressive acting debut) who wants to follow in Scarlet’s footsteps. Baldwin does an admirable job of portraying Scarlet’s bravery and vulnerability in the midst of many dangers.

Then there are her friends at the City News, including switchboard operator Marcie (Herceg) and reporter Jean Sharp (Aneisa Hicks). Jean Sharp is a talented reporter willing to put in the work to get a good story. Her efforts tend to be stymied, however, by fellow reporter Bobby Bragg (Osgood). Like Jean, City News switchboard operator Marcie sees her own contributions go unrecognized.

Lisa Herceg stars as Marcie in The Invisible Scarlet O'Neil, Babes With BladesElizabeth MacDougald and Ashley Fox star as Evanna Keil and Judy in The Invisible Scarlet O'Neil

Chris Cinereski shifts smoothly between a quartet of roles as Scarlet’s father, Dr. O’Neil; Bill Hackett, who runs the City News; and the somewhat bungling Guard and Cop who fall under the spell of mind control. Last but not least, Judy Butafuco (Ashley Fox) plays Evanna’s mobster side-kick, whose lines are generously sprinkled with amusing malaprops, such as “those scientific diaphragms are really gonna help” and “you mis-underestimated me.” In the end, Butafuco has a secret of her own to be revealed.

Babes With Blades Theater Company, seizing on the very relatable character of Scarlet O’Neil, commissioned playwright Barbara Lhota to explore the intangible ways that women have become “invisible” in the context of societal norms. In World War II, the role of women changed dramatically as the all-hands-on-deck mentality saw women take on crucial roles that had a great impact. That changed once the war ended. As playwright Lhota adds in the production’s script notes, “Women who were made visible during WWII, because they took over so many male-dominated jobs, were now asked to become, in effect, invisible as the men came home.” The results of this transition are acted out in the struggles of Jean Sharp and Marcie as well as Scarlet, while City News editor Bill Hackett offers a ray of hope.

Kirk Osgood and Chris Cinereski star as Bobby and Mr. Hackett in The Invisible Scarlet O'Neil

The physicality and action-oriented approach of the period drive the pace of the production and add to the comic success it achieves under Leigh Barrett’s direction. Barrett’s staging is simple and fluid, with Milo Bue’s set design, consisting of plain white blocks easily reconfigured to go from an office to a hotel scene, adding to the fluidity. A clever visual technique is used by G. “Max” Maxin IV (projection design) to simulate the thought and word bubbles of the comic strip genre that fill in jumps in the action.

Now in its 20th Anniversary season, Babes With Blades uses stage combat to place women and their stories center stage. Its Fighting Words Festival (FW) focuses on developing scripts that include fighting roles for female identified artists. This year’s festival, scheduled for May 2018, will showcase three new scripts aligned with their goal of creating theatre that explores the wide range of human experience and cultivates broader perspectives both in the arts and society as a whole.

While not without an occasional flaw, world-premiere The Invisible Scarlet O’Neil is a fresh and thoroughly enjoyable theater experience that gives the viewer good-natured laughs while putting a still too prevalent issue front and center.

  
Rating: ★★★
  

The Invisible Scarlet O’Neil continues through October 14th at Factory Theater, 1623 W. Howard (map), with performances Thursdays-Saturdays 8pm, Sundays 3pm.  Tickets are $25 (seniors & students: $15), and are available at BrownPaperTickets.com or by phone at 773-904-0391 (check for availability of half-price tickets). More information at BabesWithBlades.org(Running time: 2 hours, includes an intermission)

Margaux Fournier and Chloe Baldwin star as Sarah and Scarlet O'Neil in Invisible of Scarlet O'Neil

Photos by Joe Mazza 


  

artists

cast

Chloe Baldwin (Scarlet O’Neil), Aneisa Hicks (Jean Sharp), Lisa Herceg (Marcie, Hedy Labarr), Lynne Baker (Dr. Greta Hertzfeldt, Doris Carmichael), Elizabeth MacDougald (Evanna Keil), Ashley Fox (Judy Butafuco), Margaux Fournier (Sarah Blue), Chris Cinereski (Bill Hacket, Dr. O’Neil, Guard, Cop), Kirk Osgood (Bobby Bragg, Dr. Percy Spencer), Patti Moore, Savanna Rae (understudies)

behind the scenes

Leigh Barrett (director), Libby Beyreis (violence design), Milo Bue (scenic design), Meghan Erxleben (lighting design), Kimberly G. Morris (costume design), Sarah Espinoza (sound design), The Sans N.E. Sleep Cooperative (props design), G. “Max” Maxin IV (projection design), Lindsey Miller (stage manager), Manuel Ortiz (technical director), Colleen Layton (production manager), Hannah Wolff (dramaturg), Chloe Baldwin (asst. violence design), Wolf Point Media (video), Joe Mazza (photos)

Chloe Baldwin and Elizabeth MacDougald star as Scarlet O'Neil and Evanna Keil

17-0913

September 19, 2017 | 0 Comments More

Review: Fight City (Factory Theater)

Kim Boler stars as Erica Burdon in Fight City, Factory Theater            
  

         

Fight City
   
Written by Scott OKen
Factory Theater, 1623 W. Howard (map)
thru Aug 26  |  tix: $25  |  more info    
       
Check for half-price tickets   
     

July 29, 2017 | 0 Comments More

Review: A Klingon Christmas Carol (Commedia Beauregard, 2014)

Christina Romano stars in Commedia Beauregard's "A Klingon Christmas Carol" by Christopher Kidder-Mostrom and Sasha Warren, directed by Catie O'Donnell. (photo credit: Anne Petersen)        
      
A Klingon Christmas Carol

Written by Christopher Kidder-Mostrom 
      and Sasha Warren
Directed by Catie O’Donnell 
at Athenaeum Theatre, 2936 N. Southport (map)
thru Dec 21  |  tickets: $30-$34   |  more info
       
Check for half-price tickets 
    
        
                   Read review 
     

December 19, 2014 | 1 Comment More

Review: Rites and Sacrifices (Idle Muse Theatre)

Caty Gordon and Jean Waller in Idle Muse Theatre's "Rites and Sacrifices" by Jennifer L. Mickelson, directed by Evan Jackson.        
      
Rites and Sacrifices

Written by Jennifer L. Mickelson
Directed by Evan Jackson
at Collaboraction, 1579 N. Milwaukee (map)
thru March 23  |  tickets: $15-$20   |  more info
       
Check for half-price tickets 
    
        
                   Read review
     

February 24, 2014 | 1 Comment More

Review: Enchanted April (Idle Muse Theatre)

Catherine Hermes and Maggie Speer star in Idle Muse Theatre's "Enchanted April" by Matthew Barber, directed by Evan Jackson.        
       
Enchanted April 

Written by Matthew Barber
Directed by Evan Jackson  
at Rivendell Theatre, 5779 N. Ridge (map)
thru Sept 8  |  tickets: $15-$20   |  more info
       
Check for half-price tickets 
    
        
        Read entire review
     

August 23, 2013 | 0 Comments More

Review: Trash (Babes With Blades)

L to R: Alison Dornheggen as Diane, Megan Schemmel as Becky. Photo by Steven Townshend. Lighting by Leigh Barrett.       
      
Trash

Written by Arthur M. Jolly  
Directed by Delia Ford
at The Side Project, 1439 W. Jarvis (map)
thru May 5  |  tickets: $12-$20   |  more info
       
Check for half-price tickets 
    
        
        Read entire review
     

April 4, 2012 | 0 Comments More

Review: Shakespeare’s R & J (Idle Muse Theatre)

Curtis Jackson, Andrew Lund, Nathan Ducker and Matt Dyson in Idle Muse Theatre's "Shakespeare's R & J" by Joe Calarco.       
      
Shakespeare’s R & J 

Written by Joe Calarco
Directed by Tristan Brandon
Side Project Theatre, 1439 W. Jarvis (map)
thru March 18  |  tickets: $20   |  more info
       
Check for half-price tickets  
         
        Read entire review
     

February 19, 2012 | 1 Comment More

Review: The Lion in Winter (Idle Muse Theatre)

     
The Lion in winter - Idle Muse Theatre 2
The Lion in Winter
 

Written by James Goldman 
Directed by Evan Jackson
Side Project Theatre, 1439 W. Jarvis (map)
thru Sept 11  | tickets: $20  |  more info

Check for half-price tickets
  
   
     Read entire review

     
August 15, 2011 | 0 Comments More