Tag: Kathy Scambiatterra

Review: The School for Lies (The Artistic Home)

 Annie Hogan and Brookelyn Hebert star in The School for Lies, Artistic Home           

The School for Lies
Adapted by David Ives  
The Artistic Home, 1376 W. Grand (map)
thru Aug 13  |  tix: $28-$32  |  more info
Check for half-price tickets   

July 12, 2017 | 1 Comment More

Review: Interrogation (The Artistic Home)

Julian Hester and Kathryn Acosta in Interrogation, The Artistic Home          


Written by Scott Woldman
The Artistic Home, 1376 W. Grand (map)
thru March 20  |  tix: $28-$32  |  more info
Check for half-price tickets       

March 16, 2016 | 2 Comments More

Review: The Late Henry Moss (The Artistic Home)

Yadira Correa and Julian Hester star in The Artistic Home's "The Late Henry Moss" by Sam Shepard, directed by Kaiser Ahmed. (photo credit: Tim Knight)        
The Late Henry Moss

Written by Sam Shepard 
Directed by Kaiser Ahmed
at The Artistic Home, 1376 W. Grand (map)
thru Aug 3  |  tickets: $28-$32   |  more info
Check for half-price tickets 
                   Read review

July 12, 2014 | 0 Comments More

Review: Les Parents Terribles (The Artistic Home)

Frank Nall, Julian Hester and Kathy Scambiatterra star in The Artistic Home's "Les Parents Terribles" by Jean Cocteau, directed by John Mossman. (photo credit: Anthony Aicardi)        
Les Parents Terribles

Written by Jean Cocteau  
Directed by John Mossman 
at The Artistic Home, 1376 W. Grand (map)
thru April 13  |  tickets: $28-$32   |  more info
Check for half-price tickets 
                   Read review

March 14, 2014 | 1 Comment More

Review: Beaten (The Artistic Home)

Kristin Collins stars as Madelyn in the world premiere of The Artistic Home's "Beaten" by Scott Woldman, directed by Katherine Swan. (photo credit: Anthony Aicardi)        

Written by Scott Woldman  
Directed by Katherine Swan
at The Artistic Home, 1376 W. Grand (map)
thru Aug 11  |  tickets: $28-$32   |  more info
Check for half-price tickets 
        Read entire review

July 12, 2013 | 0 Comments More

Review: The Night of the Iguana (The Artistic Home)

John Mossman and Miranda Zola star in The Artistic Home's "The Night of Iguana" by Tennessee Williams, directed by Kathy Scambiatterra. (photo credit: T.C. Knight)         
The Night of the Iguana 

Written by Tennessee Williams 
Directed by Kathy Scambiatterra
Artistic Home Theatre, 1376 W. Grand (map)
thru May 5 May 25  |  tickets: $32   |  more info
Check for half-price tickets 
        Read entire review 

April 3, 2013 | 0 Comments More

Review: The American Plan (The Artistic Home)

Lili (Margaret Katch) makes up with Olivia (Tonya Simmons), in The Artistic Home's "The American Plan" by Richard Greenberg, directed by Robin Witt. (photo credit: Brian McConkey)        
The American Plan 

Written by Richard Greenberg
Directed by Robin Witt
at Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont (map)
thru Aug 26  |  tickets: $28-$32   |  more info
Check for half-price tickets 
        Read entire review

July 23, 2012 | 0 Comments More

Review: The Copperhead (City Lit Theater)


This ‘copperhead’ is worth every penny


The Copperhead - City Lit Theatre Chicago

City Lit Theater presents
The Copperhead
Written by Augustus Thomas
Directed by Kathy Scambiattera
at City Lit Theater, 1020 W. Bryn Mawr (map)
through May 15  |  tickets: $18-$25  |  more info

Reviewed by Barry Eitel

While Chekhov was over in Russia writing about social upheaval, Augustus Thomas was stateside dipping into the American experience and crafting similar pieces of realism. The demise of the old aristocracy inspired Chekhov; Reconstruction and the economic decimation of the South following the Civil War instigated Thomas’ plays. Once proclaimed as the best playwright in the nation, Thomas has faded into obscurity over the last century. Watching City Lit Theater’s solid production of his most successful play, 1918’s The Copperhead, I was struck by how well-wrought Thomas’ style seems even today. Maybe director Kathy Scambiatterra’s show will kickstart interest in one of America’s original voices.

The Copperhead - City Lit Theatre Chicago 2The Copperhead is part of City Lit’s “Civil War Project,” a five-year theatrical exploration of the Civil War. Thomas sets his drama in southern Illinois, close to the border of the Confederacy. The play centers around Milt Shanks (Mark Pracht), a Southern sympathizer, claiming he wants peace above all else. In the Land of Lincoln, that doesn’t go down well. He earns the ire of his family and community, even going to prison for his murky connections to the Rebel cause. The second half of the play is set 40 years after Appomattox, and the beliefs Shanks’ held during the war are still affecting him and his descendants.

Unlike many of his peers, Thomas completely shuns melodrama. There’s a subtle pressure and conflict that flows throughout the play. Social roles and appearances run the world, just like with Ibsen or Strindberg. What people believe is as important as what people do.

Scambiatterra elicits great performances from her strappy cast. Pracht does a fine job with the austere Shanks, remaining strong and level, while still revealing glimpses of vulnerability – we know he is still a human being in a crazy situation. The real gem in the production is Kate Tummelson, who plays Shanks’ wife in the first half and his devoted granddaughter in the second. She really drives every scene she is a part of, scrounging up independence in a time where there was very little to be had for women. As Ma Shanks, she is torn by her devotion to her son, her husband, and her country. As Madeline, she has to look out for her grandfather and her own future. Another great performance is given by Judith Hoppe as the high-spirited Grandma Pearly, who constantly talks about how war takes a toll on women.

Thomas’ writing holds up surprisingly well. Scambiaterra finds loads of humor in the script—Pracht as the older Milt mines plenty of elderly jokes. And the cast finds layers with every character; there are unspoken ethos guiding every actor on stage.

The plays runs along pretty well, but the ending ties the show together a bit too neatly. It becomes like some sort of 19th-century James Bond flick. I was hoping for something more like Chekhov, where the house lights come up leaving the audience with unanswered questions and some moral ambiguity. But Thomas taps into good ol’ American sentimentality, breaking apart complexities he spends four acts building up.

City Lit brings an honest, down-the-line approach to the script. The Copperhead can feel a bit archaic, but never wooden. It’s great to see such an old play with a local connection being done here. Thomas will never have the name recognition or acclaim of Chekhov, and he seems afraid to dive as deep into darker territory. However, his play remains relevant to any culture familiar with war. The Civil War Project is a fascinating idea, and I hope they can keep churning out work like this.

Rating: ★★★

The Copperhead poster - City Lit Theater Chicago

April 20, 2011 | 0 Comments More