Tag: Greg Allen

Chicago’s Best Theater of 2015

 

Carmen Molina, Claudia DiBiccari, Mykele Callicutt, Paula Ramirez, Preston Tate Jr., Deanna Reed-Foster and James McGuire in Cold Basement Dramatics' "Heat Wave".Scott Danielson, Garrett Lutz and George Toles star in Kokandy Productions' "The Full Monty".Laura Osnes as and Steven Pasquale star in Lyric Opera's "Carousel" by Rodgers and Hammerstein.John Mahoney and Audrey Francis in Steppenwolf Theatre's "The Herd".Sarah Lynn Robinson, Anthony Whitaker and Greg Zawada in Porchlight's "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Form" by Steven Sondheim. Monica West, Kasey Foster and Emma Cadd in Lookingglass Theatre's "Moby Dick".Mariann Mayberry and Brittany Uomoleale star in Steppenwolf Theatre's "Grand Concourse".Steve Haggard and Karen Janes Woditsch star in Writers Theatre's "Doubt: A Parable".Charli Williams , Anna Dauzvardis, Katrina D.  Richard, Brandon Greenhouse, and Kevin Patterson star in Raven Theatre's "Direct from Death Row: The Scottsboro Boys".Bernard White and Nisi Sturgis in Goodman Theatre's "Disgraced".Rafael Davila and Bradley Smoak star in Lyric Opera of Chicago's "Bel Canto".Drury Lane Oakbrook presents "Billy Elliot: The Musical," music by Elton John.  Becca Savoy, Michael McKeough and Sandy Elias star in Griffin Theatre's "Pocatello".Larry Yando and Eva Louise Balistreiri star in Chicago Shakespeare's "The Tempest" by William Shakespeare.Matthew Sherbach and Armand Fields star in Northlight Theatre's "Charm".Brendan Connelly, Chris Schroeder and Brenda Scott Wlazlo star in Red Theater and Oracle Productions' "R + J: The Vineyard".Melanie Brezill and Patrick Budde star in Chicago Children’s Theatre’s "The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane." Colte Julian as Curly and Allison Sill as Laurey in Paramount Theatre's "Oklahoma!". Mike Nussbaum stars in TimeLine Theatre's "The Price" by Arthur Miller. Eunice Woods stars in American Theater Company's "The Project(s)" by PJ Paparelli and Joshua Jaeger.Luce Metrius and Ashley Neil star in A Red Orchid Theatre's "Red Handed Otter." Kelsey Brennan and Greg Matthew Anderson star in Remy Bumppo's "Travesties" by Tom Stoppard.Johanna McKenzie Miller and Alex Goodrich star in Northlight Theatre's "Shining Lives," directed by Jessica Thebus.Brian Parry and Jacqueline Grandt star in Redtwist Theatre's "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" by Edward Albee.Eileen Niccolai and Daniela Colucci star in The Shattered Globe's "The Rose Tattoo" by Tennessee Williams. , Shattered Globe Theatre, Brosilow

In a theater community as diverse and talented as Chicago’s, every aspect and genre of stage productions can be found throughout the city on a given week.  2015 was no exception to this fact, as one can see from our reviewers’ picks of the year’s greatest and most memorable works.

See our picks below the fold

December 31, 2015 | 0 Comments More

Review: Ibsen’s Ghosts (Mary-Arrchie Theatre)

Gage Wallace stars as Oswald in Mary-Arrchie's "Ibsen's Ghosts," adapted and directed by Greg Allen. (photo credit: Joe Mazza)         
      
Ibsen’s Ghosts 

Adapted, Directed by Greg Allen
at Angel Island, 735 W. Sheridan (map)
thru Dec 20  |  tix: $20-$30   |  more info
       
Check for half-price tickets   
    

November 16, 2015 | 2 Comments More

Review: The Dance of Death (Writers Theatre)

Shannon Cochran and Philip Earl Johnson star in Writers Theatre's "The Dance of Death" by August Strindberg, adapted by Conor McPherson, directed by Henry Wishcamper. (photo credit: Michael Brosilow)        
      
The Dance of Death

Written by August Strindberg
Adapted by Conor McPherson  
Directed by Henry Wishcamper  
Writers Theatre, 644 Vernon, Glencoe (map)
thru Aug 3  |  tickets: $35-$70   |  more info
       
Check for half-price tickets 
    
        
                   Read review
     

April 16, 2014 | 0 Comments More

Review: Pinocchio, The Wooden Boy (The Neo-Futurists)

Robert Fenton as Pinocchio crushes Jiminy Cricket. (photo credit: Brave Lux)       
      
Pinocchio (The Wooden Boy) 

Written and Directed by Greg Allen 
at the Neo-Futurarium, 5153 N. Ashland (map)
thru April 14  |  tickets: $10-$20   |  more info
       
Check for half-price tickets 
    
        
        Read entire review
     

March 15, 2012 | 0 Comments More

REVIEW: K. (The Hypocrites)

 

Allen goes coo-coo for Kafka

 

 

The Hypocrites - K - by Greg Allen004

   
The Hypocrites present
   
K.
   
Written and Directed by Greg Allen
at
Chopin Theatre, 1543 W. Division (map)
through November 28   |  tickets: $14-$28  |  more info

Reviewed by Barry Eitel

At the last three productions I’ve seen put on by The Hypocrites, arguably the local leader in avant garde storefront, there’s been some blatant reference to the originating text. In Sean Graney’s stage adaptation of Frankenstein last year (our review ★★), the pages of numerous copies of Mary Shelley’s book were pasted on The Hypocrites - K - by Greg Allen001the back wall. In No Exit (review ★★★), Inez splattered toothpaste all over the set and tacked on leaves from Jean Paul-Sartre’s Being and Nothingness. And in their season opener K., translated from “The Trial”, a semi-finished novel from that proto-surrealist genius, Franz Kafka, characters read, toss around, and swear upon a tiny copy of Kafka’s chilling story. The stage adaptation and direction are the handiwork of Neo-Futurist Greg Allen, a master of metatheatricality. The production unravels in the last few scenes, but the darkly funny story is an enthralling journey. One wonders, considering that Kafka died before finishing “The Trial” (or any novels, really), if this is sort of the point.

Allen first penned his adaptation in 1996. “K.” is Josef K., Kafka’s unwitting protagonist in his slamming critique of law, order, and bureaucracy. “The Trial” is pretty much an expressionist legal thriller, with less crime and more paperwork. K.’s monotonous life is disrupted when he is arrested one morning, but not detained and never told what offense he committed (the police don’t even know). The rest of the piece follows K.’s long, occasionally action-packed struggle to get his trial to go to trial.

 

The Hypocrites - K - by Greg Allen005 The Hypocrites - K - by Greg Allen002

Allen cherrypicks from Kafka’s plot. He hits important characters and scenes, but he streamlines the piece. This works well for the adaptation; K.’s Sisyphean legal journey is easy enough to follow and digest. Allen then plugs the gaps with a self-awareness that shocks the story into a stage life, one that is very aware that it is theatre. The actor playing K.’s father, Sean Patrick Fawcett, must yank a program from the audience to prove to K. that he is, in fact, K.’s father. A painter sells works with titles like The Hunger Artist, The Penal Colony, and The Castle. And there’s a full-on Metamorphosis moment. These choices tap into themes that both resonate with the original text and go beyond it: the nature of narrative, and reality, for that matter.

Brennan Buhl’s portrayal of K. syncs perfectly with Allen’s vision. He straddles the script, keeping one foot in the story and the other in our world. Sometimes he is charmingly aloof, making it seem like he’s part of some dark improv set—ready to joke and riff off whatever happens to him. At other crucial points, he snaps into the plot’s reality with devastating somberness. Buhl’s performance is stripped of sentimentality; his whole world is funny and inconsequential until the agonizing futility of his situation beats him into submission.

The Hypocrites - K - by Greg Allen003There are a few times when the Allen’s meta-theatre meddling fails to produce the fruit, the ending being the prime example. K. has a possibly fatal encounter with his arresting officers, but the final outcome isn’t revealed, and Buhl sucks in the audience at the last moment….except we don’t know where we’re going. We get a sort of “what happened?” moment, and I was very confused as to what actually happened. Allen’s tight focus slackens here and the moment clogs up the heavy theatrical metaphor flowing through the piece.

Buhl is joined by a great supporting cast who all jump into a massive gumbo of personas. They do great things with Chelsea Warren’s set, which features plenty of doors to shift around, open, and slam. There’s an energy present here that isn’t seen often today, one that doesn’t mock the fact that theatre is happening, but lovingly accepts the art form while pushing its limits. Even with K.’s misfires, Allen has created riveting, intellectual theatre.

   
   
Rating: ★★★
  
  

Brennan Buhl - Hypocrites Theatre - Greg Allen

October 28, 2010 | 0 Comments More

REVIEW: I Am a Camera (The Neo-Futurists)

How do you see yourself? How do others see you?

 Caitlin Stainken - "I AM A CAMERA"

The Neo-Futurists present:

I AM A CAMERA

 

created/directed by Greg Allen
through March 13th (more info)

review by Ian Epstein 

I AM A CAMERA appropriately begins with a slideshow.  The audience waits while a projector cycles through images taken from an anonymous childhood.  A slideshow in total darkness draws from the same atmospheric quality of being at a movie theater except that still images force the audience’s attention to examine each frame thoroughly.  Within seconds, the audience begins to wonder if the children in these photographs and the person in that one are the same.  Who are they?  What should I be looking for? 

Caitlin Stainken - "I AM A CAMERA" The anonymity hardly matters as soon as the second image appears, since holding one photograph up to another inevitably invites comparison.  The audience searches in the dark for clues that will shed some light on the relationship between what was there a moment ago and what is there now.  The succession of faces and places begins to hint at a story.

Then the projector stops and the lights come up a bit and Neo-Futurist ensemble member Jeremy Sher – playing Neo-Futurist ensemble member Jeremy Sher — enters from behind a broad white curtain.  A voice commands him to smile from some offstage, unseen, photographic location (the booth).  As he does a song begins to play and it plays and plays and plays and then as it ends there’s the familiar electric blue of a camera flash and the smile fades as Jeremy melts into the darkness and disappears offstage.  Enter Neo-Futurist ensemble member Caitlin Stainken (playing Neo-Futurist ensemble member Caitlin Stainken) – she repeats this process, a kind of unnerving endurance-performance mugshot.  The repetition underscores the fact that the length of a song is a very long time to sit still and stare at someone forcing a smile.  From its first moments, director Greg Allen toys with the tension between frozen images and breathing bodies.

Caitlin Stainken in "I AM A CAMERA"

As the play unfolds, I AM A CAMERA comes to life on a screen, on a stage, in front of a screen, behind a screen, in silhouette, in darkness, in a momentary flash, beyond a screen, back in the audience, in and out of the audience, with the audience on a screen, in photographs scattered across a table, in motion, in stillness, in any combination of these and, of course, here and there it bubbles out of the image world into words. 

Rating: ★★★

cameraweb

PERFORMANCES: Opening Night: Saturday, February 6, 2010 at 8:00 p.m. Performances continue through March 13, 2010: Thurs/Fri/Sat at 8:00 p.m. Tickets are $15, $10 for students/seniors with ID, or pay-what-you-can during previews and on Thursdays.

Limited seating, reservations highly recommended!! Go here to reserve tickets…

 

 

February 10, 2010 | 0 Comments More

Theater Thursday: I Am A Camera (Neo-Futurists)

Thursday, February 4

I Am A Camera

directed and devised by Greg Allen 
The Neo-Futurists 
5153 N. Ashland, Chicago

iamacameraCome see Neo-Futurist founder Greg Allen‘s new show I Am A Camera. After the performance mingle with the cast and crew during which you will be supplied with plentiful amounts of beer from local brewer Metropolitan Brewing while simultaneously being fed different style pizzas from Apart Pizza.

Show begins at 8 p.m.

Event begins immediately following the performance (around 9:30 p.m.)

TICKETS ONLY $20 

For reservations call 773.275.5255 and mention "Theater Thursdays," or order online at www.neofuturists.org.

 

metrobrewery apartpizza
February 4, 2010 | 0 Comments More

Theater Thursday: I Am Camera (The Neo-Futurists)

 

Thursday, February 4

I Am Camera 

directed and devised by Greg Allen 
The Neo-Futurists, 5153 N. Ashland, Chicago

iamacameraCome see Neo-Futurist Founder Greg Allen‘s new show I Am Camera. After the performance mingle with the cast and crew during which you will be supplied with plentiful amounts of beer from local brewer Metropolitan Brewing while simultaneously being fed different style pizzas from Apart Pizza.

 

Show begins at 8 p.m.

Event begins immediately following the performance (around 9:30 p.m.)

TICKETS ONLY $20 

For reservations call 773.275.5255 and mention “Theater Thursdays,” or order online at www.neofuturists.org.

January 25, 2010 | 0 Comments More