Tag: James Joyce

Review: Ulysses (The Plagiarists)

Isaac Samuelson, Christopher Donaldson, Ashley Fox, James Snyder, Sheridan Singleton, David Fink, Charlotte



Adapted by Jessica Wright Buha
   and Aileen McGroddy
From novel by James Joyce
Berger Pk. House, 6205 N. Sheridan (map)
thru Apr 30  |  tix: $20  |  more info
Check for half-price tickets   

April 10, 2016 | 0 Comments More

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: James Joyce’s “The Dead” (Court Theatre)

Rachel Klippel, Regina Leslie, Jim DeSelm and Suzanne Gillen star in Court Theatre's "James Joyce's The Dead" by Richard Nelson and Shaun Davey, directed by Charles Newell. (photo credit: Michael Brosilow)        
James Joyce’s “The Dead”

Adapted by Richard Nelson and Shaun Davey
Directed by Charles Newell
at Court Theatre, 5535 S. Ellis (map)
thru Dec 9  |  tickets: $45-$65   |  more info
Check for half-price tickets 
        Read entire review

November 24, 2012 | 0 Comments More

Review: Exiles (Theatre Y)


Theatre Y detours off the map


Theatre Y - Exiles by James Joyce

Theatre Y presents
Written by James Joyce
Directed by Kevin V. Smith
at the Lacuna Artist Lofts, 2150 S. Canalport (map)
through August 27  | 
tickets: $10-$20  |  more info

Reviewed by Jason Rost

Theatre Y is a company that deserves, and in many ways, demands respect for their talents and international exposure. Up until now they have done solely the works of Romanian playwright, Andras Visky. With “The Exiled Trilogy” they are now taking on three works by established authors in rep. The first play of the series is Exiles, the only play ever written by James Joyce. Directed by Kevin V. Smith in the starkly industrial Lacuna Artist Lofts in Pilsen, this production is bare boned, highly experimental and expressionistic.  It is also near incomprehensible.

Daiva Bhandari as Beatrice Justice - Theatre Y - Exiles by James JoyceUltimately, this nearly three-hour long dense, yet daring, revival of Joyce’s rarely seen theatrical endeavor is not for everyone. There are moments where the exhaustive monologues become unbearable. Still there are a couple brief moments where Smith has extracted the core themes and emotion in Joyce’s writing and has highlighted them in strict expressionistic choreography, “female-to-female” drag, and lip-synching of contemporary pop music. These moments were a relief in comparison to other moments where Smith’s direction is oppressive and confounds the story more than it already is. I only wished Smith had  slashed about an hour off of Joyce’s script and included more of those few moments of life. Nevertheless, the production almost invites you to get lost in and dismiss Joyce’s wordiness and simply become transfixed by the incredible artistry of Theatre Y’s aesthetic.

Joyce was deeply influenced by Ibsen thematically and in his attention to domestic realism. The play’s central character is Richard Rowan Rafael Franco, a writer from Dublin. After returning from exile in Italy with his wife, Bertha (a transfixing performance by Melissa Hawkins) and their eight year old son Archie (Theo Tongue), a love triangle is formed involving their old best friend Robert Hand (David Bettino). The three were friends from their youth, including a history between Bertha and Hand. Struggling to fight his jealous temper, Rowan persuades Bertha and Hand to be honest to themselves and him. Meanwhile, Rowan has a past and rekindling with Beatrice (Daiva Bhandari). This in turn makes Bertha jealous. It begins to play out a little like “The Housewives of Dublin.” The bulk of the play revolves around dialogue and accusations stemming from this jealousy.

Melissa Hawkins - Theatre Y - Exiles by James Joyce

What is most interesting in the script is how subtle the sexual advances are, yet charged. Smith’s overt staging, while visually captivating, doesn’t seem to belong in this play. The women, especially Beatrice, are emotionless, robotic and cold. It’s clear he’s making a statement about domesticity and male/female relationships. However, by illuminating every detail Joyce provides to a highly theatricalized action (such as pausing the play for a split-second every minute when the time clock in the space “clicks”), it ultimately detracts from the audience’s understanding of the story. A director spends countless hours with a script before developing a concept. They have several readings and hours of rehearsal to take out of the script what is important to them, and what they want to communicate with the audience. However, what Smith is forgetting here is that the audience is experiencing this story for the first time. The experimentation would possibly play better with a script that is more well known, leaving this production for the Joyce scholars among us.

The performances are impeccably rehearsed, almost to the point where any hint of spontaneity has been erased. Franco’s Rowan hits the anger but he rattles through the monologues lacking the ability to take the audience through the language. Hawkins is a powerhouse as a female-to-female drag queen. In some ways this is a separate point from her performance as Bertha, since when she breaks into lip-synched performances of songs such as Adele’s “Rolling In the Deep", it’s an entirely different show. While the lyrics connect to the story, the departure from the world of the play provides little more than welcome entertainment. In the end, I would’ve rather watched three hours of the impassioned drag,than try to make head-and-tails of what Joyce’s play is truly about in Theatre Y’s brave yet frustrating telling.

Rating: ★★

Melissa Hawkins and David Bettino - Exiles by James Joyce - Theatre Y

Theatre Y presents Part One of “The Exiled Trilogy,” Exiles by James Joyce. Performances play sporadically through Aug. 27th. Parking is available. The show runs 2 hours and 45 minutes with one ten-minute intermission. Tickets are $10 Industry, $15 Student, and $20 General. For tickets and more information visit: www.theatre-y.com.   All photos by Marianne Bach.


June 15, 2011 | 1 Comment More