Tag: John Ferrick

Review: In A Word (Strawdog Theatre)

Mary Winn Heider, John Ferrick and Gabe Franken in In A Word          
      
   

In A Word

Written by Lauren Yee
Strawdog Theatre, 3829 N. Broadway (map)
thru March 19  |  tix: $28   |  more info
       
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March 15, 2016 | 1 Comment More

Review: Monstrous Regiment (Lifeline Theatre)

Matt Engle and Sarah Price star in Lifeline Theatre's "Monstrous Regiment," adapted by Chris Hainsworth, directed by Kevin Theis. (photo credit: Kelsey Jorissen)        
      
Monstrous Regiment

Adapted by Chris Hainsworth  
Directed by Kevin Theis
at Lifeline Theatre, 6912 N. Glenwood (map)
thru July 20  |  tickets: $20-$40   |  more info
       
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June 17, 2014 | 0 Comments More

Review: Miss Marx, Or the Involuntary Side Effect of Living (Strawdog Theatre)

John Ferrick and Dana Black star in "Miss Marx" by Philip Dawkins, directed by Megan Shuchman. (photo credit: Chris Ocken)        
      
Miss Marx: Or the Involuntary
   Side Effect of Living

Written by Philip Dawkins
Directed by Megan Shuchman
at Strawdog Theatre, 3829 N. Broadway (map)
thru April 5  |  tickets: $28   |  more info
       
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March 16, 2014 | 0 Comments More

Review: Great Expectations (Strawdog Theatre)

Kyle A. Gibson and Michael Tepeli star in Strawdog Theatre's "Great Expectations", adapted by Gale Childs Daly, directed by Jason Gerace. (photo credit: Chris Ocken)        
      
Great Expectations

Adapted by Gale Childs Daly  
Directed by Jason Gerace
at Strawdog Theatre, 3829 N. Broadway (map)
thru Dec 22  |  tickets: $28   |  more info
       
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December 9, 2013 | 0 Comments More

Review: Big Love (Strawdog Theatre)

Eleni Sauvageau, Rasika Ranganthan and Michaela Petro star in Strawdog Theatre's "Big Love" by Charles L. Mee, directed by Matt Hawkins. (photo credit: Chris Ocken)        
       
Big Love 

Written by Charles L. Mee  
Directed by Matt Hawkins
Strawdog Theatre, 3829 N. Broadway (map)
thru May 25  |  tickets: $28   |  more info
       
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April 25, 2013 | 0 Comments More

Review: Opus (Redtwist Theatre)

Michael Sherwin, Brian Parry - Redtwist Theatre Opus       
      
Opus

Written by Michael Hollinger   
Directed by Jason W. Gerace
at Redtwist Theatre, 1044 W. Bryn Mawr (map)
thru Jan 15 29  |  tickets: $25-$30   |  more info
       
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December 13, 2011 | 2 Comments More

Review: The Count of Monte Cristo (Lifeline Theatre)

     
Chris Hainsworth and Jenifer Tyler - Count of Monte Cristo
The Count of Monte Cristo
 

Adapted by Christopher M. Walsh
Based on book by Alexandre Dumas 
Directed by Paul S. Holmquist
at Lifeline Theatre, 6912 N. Glenwood (map)
thru Oct 30  |  tickets: $32-$35  |  more info

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September 21, 2011 | 2 Comments More

Review: The Conquest of the South Pole (Strawdog Theatre)

  
  

The Ultimate Downer

  
  

Tom Hickey, Michael Dailey, John Ferrick in Strawdog Theatre's 'The Conquest of the South Pole'. Photo by Chris Ocken

  
Strawdog Theatre presents
  
The Conquest of the South Pole
   
Written by Manfred Karge
Directed by Kimberly Senior
at Strawdog Theatre, 3829 N. Broadway (map)
through May 28  |  tickets: $20  |  more info

Reviewed by Lawrence Bommer

The title suggests a sprawling epic, not this intriguing 90-minute allegorical comedy by German playwright Manfred Karge (a Brecht protege who has worked for the Berliner Ensemble). A richly surreal trove, The Conquest of the South Pole is an action portrait of four unemployed workers who, vaguely sensing they’ve lost their usefulness, pass their time recreating Amundsen’s 1911 expedition to the bottom of the earth.

Strawdog Theatre presents 'The Conquest of the South Pole' by Manfred Karge and directed by Kimberly Senior.With no glory to seek themselves, they ape a long-gone fame. (It beats playing pinball, swilling schnapps or pretending that they’re force-feeding political prisoners.) This borrowed lusters is one of many pungent ironies archly detailed in Kimberly Senior’s staging for Strawdog Theatre.

Mired in the dying industrial town of Herne, the twentysomethings congregate on their crowded tenement rooftop (evoked by Jack Magaw in a sparely neutral dormer set design). Their make-believe offers them a refuge from the bleak life of the Ruhr valley. (Envying the boredom of "unemployed millionaires," one worker comments: "They don’t even want to work. I want to, and I can’t!") Well, they’re not attacking immigrant workers like so many German skinheads.

But, far from offering an escape, their ritualized polar saga perversely mirrors their own dark plight and it’s easier to connect with Scott’s doomed expedition than Amundsen’s successful one.

Led by gruff Slupianek (Jamie Vann), the crew–skeptical Buscher (John Ferrick), mysterious Seiffert (Michael Dailey) and very married Braukmann (Tom Hickey)–are joined by the dimwitted but doglike Frankieboy (Joel Ewing), as they meticulously recreate the Norwegian’s race to the Pole, scrounging around for antarctic-ish costumes, using a laundry line as an icy landscape, rappelling across the stage, breaking into song and dance.

Inevitably the fantasy must be paid for or, as they put it, "Watch out for crevasses." Sexually confident even if strapped for funds, Slupianek seduces Brauckmann’s wife (Jennifer Avery), who’s furious that their boyish “monkey games” are keeping her husband from going to work.  Buscher almost derails the pageant by demanding that they enact Scott’s doomed expedition, a reflection of failure a lot closer to their own.

Oddly, the event that renews their ardor to resume their "play" is an ugly encounter with Rudi (Anderson Lawfer), a boorish and fatuous Hitler lover and his divorced trull Rosi (Justine C. Turner); nothing could be worse than his idea of fascist pleasure.

When they finally "reach" the Pole, it’s a glorious, redeeming moment, followed all too quickly by the inevitable let-down (even a suicide). Clearly art was not enough.

In its pell-mell energy and kinetic stage pictures ”Conquest” strongly recalls past Chicago productions of English plays about bored and wasted youth–Road, Stags and Hens, Bouncers, (It also resembles Marat/Sade in its inspired yoking of an historical event with a dysfunctional present.) What’s unique to Karge’s 1986 work is the depiction of untapped ingenuity; in the desperation of the men’s elaborate theatrics, midlife crises and frenetic male-bonding, you taste the loss of so much thwarted art, squandered by hard times and bad luck.

With a translation by Calvin McLean, Caron Cadle and Ralf Remshardt, the script is a volatile mix of cascading street poetry, no-nonsense confessionals, and the rigid, haunting prose of the original antarctic journals.

Unfortunately, this revival is much less thrilling than the play’s first Chicago production in 1992 by the late Famous Door Theatre. The Strawdog stage just isn’t big enough for the men to take real risks in recreating their polar hero journey. The script’s adventurous aspects get short shrift and we’re left with undiluted desperation.

  
   
Rating: ★★★
  
  
April 25, 2011 | 0 Comments More