Tag: Mike Tepeli

Review: Cocked (Victory Gardens Theater)

Kelli Simpkins and Patrese D. McClain in Cocked, Victory Gardens          
      
   

Cocked

Written by Sarah Gubbins
at VG Theater, 2433 N. Lincoln (map)
thru Mar 13  |  tix: $15-$60  |  more info
       
Check for half-price tickets 

March 12, 2016 | 0 Comments More

Review: Last Train to Nibroc (Haven Theatre)

Mike Tepeli and Amanda Drinkall star in Haven Theatre's "Last Train to Nibroc" by Arlene Hutton, directed by Jason Gerace. (photo credit: Austin D. Oie)   

            
Last Train to Nibroc

Written by Arlene Hutton
Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont (map)
thru Sept 6  | tickets: $28  | more info
       
Check for half-price tickets   

     

August 13, 2015 | 0 Comments More

Review: Great Expectations (Strawdog Theatre, 2014)

Cody Proctor and Mike Tepeli star in Strawdog Theatre's "Great Expectations," adapted by Gale Childs Daly from the Charles Dickens novel, directed by Jason W. Gerace. (photo credit: Kyle Hamman)        
      
Great Expectations

Adapted by Gale Childs Daly
from the novel by Charles Dickens  
Directed by Jason W. Gerace
at Strawdog Theatre, 3829 N. Broadway (map)
thru Dec 20  |  tickets: $28   |  more info
       
Check for half-price tickets 
    
        
                   Read review
     

November 12, 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
       
Check for half-price tickets 
    
        
             Read review
     

December 9, 2013 | 0 Comments More

Review: The Burnt Part Boys (Griffin Theatre)

Charlie Fox and Max Zuppa star in Griffin Theatre's "The Burnt Part Boys", directed by Jonathan Berry. (photo credit: Michael Brosilow)        
      
The Burnt Part Boys 

By Mariana Elder (book), Chris Miller (music), 
   and Nathan Tysen (lyrics)
Directed by Jonathan Berry 
at Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont (map)
thru Dec 22  |  tickets: $36   |  more info
       
Check for half-price tickets 
    
        
        Read entire review
     

November 20, 2012 | 0 Comments More

Review: The Gingerbread House (Red Tape Theatre)

Redtape Theatre presents "The Gingerbread House", by Mark Schultz, directed by James Palmer. (photo credit: Austin D Oie)

      
      
The Gingerbread House

Written by Mark Schultz
Directed by James Palmer
at Red Tape Theatre, 621 W. Belmont (map)
thru March 3  |  tickets: $15-$30   |  more info
       
Check for half-price tickets 
    
        
        Read entire review
     

February 11, 2012 | 1 Comment More

Review: It’s A Wonderful Life: The Radio Play (American Theater Company)

A scene from American Theater Company's "It's A Wonderful Life: A Radio Play," directed by Jason W. Gerace.       
     
It’s A Wonderful Life:
       The Radio Play
   
Adapted from the Frank Capra film 
Directed by Jason W. Gerace
American Theater Co., 1909 W. Byron (map)
thru Dec 31  |  tickets: $35-$40   |  more info
       
Check for half-price tickets 
    
        
        Read entire review
     
December 25, 2011 | 0 Comments More

Review: Tragedy: a tragedy (Red Tape Theatre)

     
     

Tragedy: a new theatrical experience

     
     

Paul Miller and Paige Sawin in Red Tape Theatre’s TRAGEDY: A TRAGEDY May 5 to June 4 (Photo by James Palmer)

  
Red Tape Theatre presents
   
   
Tragedy: a tragedy
  
  
Written by Will Eno
Directed by Jeremy Wechsler
at Red Tape Theatre, 621 W. Belmont (map)
through June 5  |  tickets: $25  |  more info

Reviewed by Barry Eitel 

Hot shot playwright Will Eno’s Tragedy: a tragedy parodies the modern, multitasking, up-to-the-minute human condition, yet eulogizes it at the same time. Clocking in at an hour and 15 minutes, it’s less of a drama and more of a loose curio cabinet of themes. The world has been thrown into eternal darkness, and a crack news team does their darndest to fill the continuing coverage. They offer conjectures, anecdotes from their own lives, and wild speculation. Mostly they report about how there is nothing to report.

The first thing you’ll notice upon walking into the Red Tape space is that the audience seating is as built up as the actual set. I snagged a loveseat, but one could also crowd around a card table or sit on a wood bench. Set designer Emily Guthrie puts you in a TV watching environment, whether that’s your living room, kitchen, or local bar. We’re watching what could be the last broadcast ever. An anchorman (Lawrence Garner), three reporters (Steve O’Connell, Paige Sawin, and Mike Tepeli), and some guy on the street (Paul Miller) try to explain the unexplainable. The sun turned off. People are fleeing their homes. The governor is no where to be found. Emotions fling between fear, anger, desperation, and sluggish nihilism. But stories must be broken. Right?

Obviously, Eno’s world is off-kilter. His style fluctuates between wacky, darkly hilarious, and deeply lyrical. Jeremy Wechsler, who has directed much of Eno’s canon, leads the production for Red Tape. It definitely has its flaws, but Wechsler’s show digs deep into your psyche. It won’t shatter your worldview, but it’ll have your brain slowly churning for days afterward.

Paige Sawin in Red Tape Theatre’s TRAGEDY: A TRAGEDY May 5 to June 4 (Photo by James Palmer)

Along with Tragedy, Eno’s Middletown is coming to Chicago soon, with a production by Steppenwolf on the horizon. Eno is an interesting creature on today’s theatre scene. His stuff harks back to mid-century absurdism, but isn’t suffocated by cynicism. Tragedy is remarkably fresh. He obviously isn’t out to shock or disgust. He’s quietly philosophical, having his pseudo-characters ponder metaphysics and existentialism. It’s a thoughtful, free-form route, one which many young playwrights today seem to be traveling. Perhaps it will be the hallmark of American theatre in the 2000s.

That depends on, of course, if audiences can stay awake. Tragedy is a strangely paced play, one that demands moments of both rapid fire dialogue and complete stillness. Wechsler’s production can’t quite get the balance right. Some of the pregnant pauses are hysterical pregnancies. There’s something to be said for extended moments of silence, but the Red Tape production doesn’t earn them. Harold Pinter could write pauses in his plays like a composer writes rests in his score; Eno is still finding his bearings.

The cast does a remarkable job with the bizarre material. Garner’s Frank, trapped in a studio raised above the action, keeps going until the very end with raised eyebrows and a concerned deep voice. By the final moments, he’s a dispossessed god in a world out of control. Tepeli and O’Connell navigate Eno’s humor well, and Sawin gives a haunting turn as Constance. Miller spends 95% of the show standing around and 5% dropping truths, but he does it with warmth and commitment.

I do wish the actual set was as meticulously plotted as the audience. Frank’s box looks downright chintzy.

The play is a product of the ‘90s, and I wonder how the internet would rock this world. But that’s just one of a miasma of questions this play raises. Most importantly (or maybe least importantly), is there any reason to believe the sun won’t rise again?

  
  
Rating: ★★★
  
  

  
  
May 13, 2011 | 1 Comment More