Tag: Paloma Nozicka

Review: The Snare (Jackalope Theatre)

Paloma Nozicka, Sam Blin, Joel Ewing and Cyd Blakewell star in The Snare, Jackalope Theatre            
       
  

The Snare

Written by Samantha Beach
Broadway Armory Park, 5917 N. Broadway (map)
thru April 1  | tix: $5–$25  | more info
       
Check for half-price tickets   
    

March 9, 2017 | 0 Comments More

Review: Our Lady of 121st Street (Eclipse Theatre)

Anthony Apodaca and Kristen Johnson in Our Lady of 121st Street, Eclipse Theatre           
      
     
Our Lady of 121st Street 

Written by Stephen Adly Guirgis
Athenaeum Theatre, 2936 N. Southport (map)
thru Aug 21  |  tix: $30  |  more info
       
Check for half-price tickets   
     

July 20, 2016 | 0 Comments More

Review: The Play About My Dad (Raven Theatre)

Aaron Lamm stars as Michael Thomas in Raven Theatre's "The Play About My Dad" by Boo Killebrew, directed by Marti Lyons. (photo credit: Dean La Prairie)         
      
The Play About My Dad 

Written by Boo Killebrew
at Raven Theatre, 6157 N. Clark (map)
thru Nov 28  |  tix: $18-$42 | more info
       
Check for half-price tickets   
    

October 29, 2015 | 0 Comments More

Review: Exit Strategy (Jackalope Theatre)

Danny Martinez and Lucy Sandy star in Jackalope Theatre's "Exit Strategy" by Ike Holter, directed by Gus Menary. (photo credit: Ryan Bourque)        
      
Exit Strategy

Written by Ike Holter  
Directed by Gus Menary
Broadway Armory Park, 5917 N. Broadway (map)
thru Aug 29  |  tickets: $5-$15   |  more info
       
Check for half-price tickets 
    
        
                   Read review
     

June 7, 2014 | 0 Comments More

Review: Teddy Ferrara (Goodman Theatre)

Liam Benzvi and Adam Poss star in Goodman Theatre's "Teddy Ferrara" by Christopher Shinn, directed by Evan Cabnet. (photo credit: Liz Lauren)        
       
Teddy Ferrara 

Written by Christopher Shinn 
Directed by Evan Cabnet
at Goodman Theatre, 170 N. Dearborn (map)
thru March 3  |  tickets: $14-$45   |  more info
       
Check for half-price tickets 
    
        
        Read entire review
     

February 14, 2013 | 0 Comments More

Review: Long Way Go Down (Jackalope Theatre)

Adam Brown stars in Jackalope Theatre's "Long Way Go Down" by Zayd Dohrn, directed by Kaiser Zaki Ahmed. (photo credit: Krzyzstof Piotrowski)        
       
Long Way Go Down 

Written by Zayd Dohrn  
Directed by Kaiser Zaki Ahmed
at Viaduct Theatre, 3111 N. Western (map)
thru Dec 22  |  tickets: $10-$15   |  more info
       
Check for half-price tickets 
    
        
        Read entire review
     

December 1, 2012 | 0 Comments More

Review: Sketchbook Reincarnate (Collaboraction)

Dean Evans, creator and performer of "Honeybuns", part of the 12th Annual Sketchfest at Collaboraction - "Sketchbook Reincarnate". (photo credit: Jeremy Dop)        
       

Sketchbook Reincarnate
 

Flat Iron Arts Bldg., 1579 N. Milwaukee (map)
thru July 15  |  tickets: $10-$20   |  more info
       
Check for half-price tickets 
    
        
        Read entire review
     

June 24, 2012 | 0 Comments More

Review: Sonnets for an Old Century (UrbanTheater)

     
     

Like life, ‘Sonnets’ is a bumpy ride

     
     

Scene from UrbanTheater's 'Sonnets for an Old Century'.

   
UrbanTheater Company presents
 
Sonnets for an Old Century
  
Written by José Rivera
Directed by
Madrid St. Angelo i/a/w Juan Castaneda
at
Steppenwolf Garage Theatre, 1624 N. Halsted (map)
thru April 24 |  tickets: $20   |  more info  

Reviewed by Keith Ecker

Chicago has a vast and virtually unknown storytelling scene. Shows like The Moth, 2nd Story, Story Club, Stories at the Store, This Much Is True and Essay Fiesta feature the best writers and storytellers in the city. As a member of this scene (and Essay Fiesta producer), I see at least a dozen personal monologues performed each month. You would think that after hearing more than 100 narratives, I’d become jaded. However, I’d argue that the opposite is true. My appreciation for genuine and honest storytelling continues to grow and appears to be without bounds. Conversely, my bullshit detector has become highly attuned.

Scene from UrbanTheater's 'Sonnets for an Old Century', now playing in Steppenwolf's GarageRep series. Photo: Peter CoombsI mention all this because Sonnets for an Old Century, the new UrbanTheater Company production that’s part of the Steppenwolf Garage Rep, is a storytelling showcase. The play, written by José Rivera, consists of a series of monologues told by the recently deceased. The stage is their purgatory, and it is here that each provides commentary on the life he or she has lived, both the good and the bad. So in essence, these monologues—or free-verse sonnets—are personal narratives, even if the narratives are fictional.

Overall, Sonnets is an incredibly inconsistent show. There are moments where the monologists hit their high notes, striking genuine emotion. In these rare scenes, you can sense the actor is digging deep, plucking an honest chord from within and relaying that to the audience from behind the mask of the character. It is also in these scenes where the dialogue rises above contrivance and overwroughtness to become something real and relatable.

Unfortunately, there are far too many monologues in which the diction is absurd, even spiraling into laughable territory. Lines like "ecology of the spirit" and "rhythm of vegetables" could work if they weren’t delivered with such grave seriousness. Nobody talks like this, not even poets—or at least good poets. The actors struggle when assuming these pretentious characters, often falling into the trap of indicating rather than acting. But can you blame them? Nobody can relate to a clunker of a line like the "fallopian tubes of her mind." How can the actors find a place of genuine feeling when lines like this are the antithesis of genuine feeling?

But let’s get back to the highlights. There’s a beautiful monologue delivered by actor Hank Hilbert. He plays an actor who, in life, kept his homosexuality and his AIDS diagnosis hidden from most of the world. The language of the piece is pedestrian, though it still retains its power. There is humor as well as poignancy. There is action as well as characterization. It has all the makings of a great narrative.

Another highlight is provided courtesy of Christian Kain Blackburn. His character talks about sin, and attempts to justify his earthly behavior, which in life included drug and alcohol abuse. He then gives a riveting speech about his invalid father and the pain of watching the man grow old, weak and helpless. Blackburn pulls from the gut and succeeds in delivering one of the most compelling sonnets of the production.

     
Gino Marconi in a scene from UrbanTheater's 'Sonnets for an Old Century', now playing in Steppenwolf's GarageRep series. Scene from UrbanTheater's 'Sonnets for an Old Century', now playing in Steppenwolf's GarageRep series. Photo: Peter Coombs
Scene from UrbanTheater's 'Sonnets for an Old Century'.  Photo: Athony Aicardi Scene from UrbanTheater's 'Sonnets for an Old Century', now playing in Steppenwolf's GarageRep series. Photo: Peter Coombs Scene from UrbanTheater's 'Sonnets for an Old Century', now playing in Steppenwolf's GarageRep series.

Despite these shining moments, and a few others, the play’s inconsistency detracts from its overall quality. Each character need not deliver his or her monologue in a similar voice – that would be a sign of a non-dynamic writer. But the style should remain consistent. You can’t go from real-world dialogue to slam poetry and expect us to think these characters exist in the same universe. Perhaps if director Madrid St. Angelo addressed these style shifts, there would be more cohesion and a better end product.

The reason why the aforementioned storytelling series are successful is because they strive to tap into a place of vulnerability without the protection of pretense. Sonnets for an Old Century will probably turn off quite a few audience members because of just how much it clings to its loftiness. If the actors and director could find a way to make each piece vulnerable, despite the laughable dialogue, this would be a much more powerful play.

  
  
Rating: ★★½
  
  

Scene from UrbanTheater's 'Sonnets for an Old Century'.  Photo: Athony Aicardi

GarageRep continues through April 24th, with performances Wednesdays through Sundays at 8 pm; Saturdays and Sundays at 4 pm; with a three-show marathon on Sunday, April 24 at 1 pm, 4pm & 8 pm.  For more info, go to Steppenwolf Theatre’s 2011 GarageRep page.

 

Artists

Featuring: Jennifer Walls, Alex Polcyn, Christian Kain Blackburn, Gino Marconi, Gabi Mayorga, Shannon Matesky, Hank Hilbert, Rashaad Hall, Marilyn Camacho, Paloma Nozicka, Dru Smith, Marvin Quijada, Meghann Tabor, Phillip E. Jones, Arthur Luis Soria, Sojourner Zenobia Wright, Mike Cherry, Whitney Hayes and Amrita Dhaliwal.

       
        

What is GarageRep??

February 26, 2011 | 3 Comments More