Tag: Phil Claudnic

Review: Fight City (Factory Theater)

Kim Boler stars as Erica Burdon in Fight City, Factory Theater            


Fight City
Written by Scott OKen
Factory Theater, 1623 W. Howard (map)
thru Aug 26  |  tix: $25  |  more info    
Check for half-price tickets   

July 29, 2017 | 0 Comments More

Review: Take the Cake (Factory Theater)

Stacie Barra and Corbette Pasko stars in Factory Theater's world premiere of "Take the Cake" by Stacie Barra, directed by Timothy C. Amos. (photo credit: Dan Tamarkin)        
Take the Cake

Written by Stacie Barra  
Directed by Timothy C. Amos
at Prop Thtr, 3502 N. Elston (map)
thru Sept 6  |  tickets: $20   |  more info
Check for half-price tickets 
                   Read review

August 7, 2014 | 0 Comments More

Review: Namosaur! (Factory Theater)

Timothy C. Amos and Ross Compton star in the world premiere of Factory Theater's "Namosaur" by Scott Oken, directed by Manny Tamayo. (photo credit: Dan Tamarkin)        

Written by Scott Oken  
Directed by Manny Tamayo
at Prop Thtr, 3502 N. Elston (map)
thru Aug 31  |  tickets: $20   |  more info
Check for half-price tickets 
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August 3, 2013 | 0 Comments More

Review: Gjenganger (Akvavit Theatre)

Corey Nobel and Bergen Anderson star in Akvavit Theatre's "Gjenganger" by Joe Fosse, directed by Wm. Bullion, Breahan Eve Pautsch and Paul S. Holmquist. (photo credit: Sooz Main)        

Written by Jon Fosse
Directed by Wm. Bullion, Breahan Eve Pautsch
    and Paul S. Holmquist
DCASE Storefront Theater, 66 E. Randolph (map)
thru March 24  |  tickets: $10-$22   |  more info
Check for half-price tickets 
        Read entire review

March 7, 2013 | 0 Comments More

Review: Six Stories Tall (Adventure Stage Chicago)

Adventure Stage Chicago's "Six Stories Tall" by Marco Ramirez, directed by Tom Arvetis. (photo credit: Johnny Knight)        
Six Stories Tall 

Written by Marco Ramirez  
Directed by Tom Arvetis
at Vittum Theater, 1012 N. Noble (map)
thru Dec 13  |  tickets: $15-$25   |  more info
Check for half-price tickets 
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November 11, 2012 | 3 Comments More

Review: White Trash Wedding and a Funeral (Factory Theater)

Shannon O'Neill and Blake Dalzin as Connie and Earl.  Photo by: Carrie Sullivan       
White Trash Wedding
     and a Funeral

Written by Mike Beyer and Bill Havle
Directed by Scott Oken  
at Prop Thtr, 3502 N. Elston (map)
thru June 2  |  tickets: $20   |  more info
Check for half-price tickets 
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May 9, 2012 | 0 Comments More

Review: The Gray Girl (Factory Theater)

Kristopher Lencowski as Danny torments Katherine Schwartz as Lana in Factory Theater's The Gray Girl.       
The  Gray Girl 

Written by Colin Milroy 
Directed by Matt Engle
at Prop Thtr, 3502 N. Elston (map)
thru Dec 17  |  tickets: $15-$20   |  more info

Check for half-price tickets 
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November 20, 2011 | 0 Comments More

Review: Fifth of July (Infamous Commonwealth Theatre)


Faithful revival of heartfelt Lanford Wilson


Fifth of July at Infamous Commonwealth Theatre Chicago

Infamous Commonwealth Theatre presents
Fifth of July
Written by Lanford Wilson
Directed by Edward Morgan
at Raven Theatre West Stage, 6157 N. Clark (map)
through July 10  |  tickets: $10-$20  |  more info

Reviewed by Jason Rost

Lanford Wilson, who recently passed away this past March, was a master of capturing his audience’s heart while incorporating political and wry humor into the mix. This is most evident in his Pulitzer Prize winning play, Talley’s Folly. However, that play could not have been written if not for the first play in his Talley Trilogy, Fifth of July, now on stage at the Raven Theater in a faithful revival by Infamous Commonwealth Theatre Company.

Fifth of July, while being the first play written in the Talley Trilogy, is actually the final play chronologically in the story of the Talley family in Lebanon, Missouri. Sally Friedman (deftly played by Joanne Riopelle) is a supporting character here as family and friends of her nephew Kenneth (Stephen Dunn), a paraplegic gay Vietnam vet, gather at the family home to scatter the ashes of the deceased Talley patriarch, Matt. Kenneth has become reclusive along with his horticulture-nut boyfriend, Jed (played by Billy Fenderson, who adds some wonderful lightness to an often morose group of characters), who encourages Kenneth to take a job teaching English at the local high school despite his surrender to the real world.

A scene from Infamous Commonwealth's "Fifth of July" by Lanford Wilson. (photo: Paul Metreyeon)The other visitors to the house include Kenneth’s sister, June (Whitney Hayes) and her daughter, Shirley (a perfectly cast Glynis Gilio) who is fourteen going on thirty. Also at the home are Kenneth and June’s friends from their unruly Berkeley years, Gwen (Erin Myers) and John (Josh Atkins). Their connection and history is slowly revealed, some aspects more predictable than others. Gwen and John have an ulterior motive for coming to the Talley home, in that they are hoping to buy the house to be used as a recording studio for Gwen’s fledgling country music career. Roy Gonzales is thoroughly entertaining as her spacey unpredictable guitar playing groupie, Weston.

There is such a strong sense that much has happened before this play, it’s a wonder that Wilson wrote this piece first, never intending it to be a part of a trilogy. It’s a common belief that Wilson only wrote the other two pieces in the Talley Trilogy because Mary Carver, the original Sally Friedman, wanted more background information for her character in Fifth of July. It skates upon background information in such a way that watching it as a stand-alone play can leave you feeling slightly left out, having a bit of catch up to do. The relationships are not laid out on the table in a contrived exposition.

Morgan’s direction is most noticeable in its fine pacing and structure. Dunn captures the defeatist nature and ultimate rejuvenation of Nathan subtly and honestly. Wilson’s writing can allow for languishing, but the actors clip along. Joe Court’s sound design provides a perfect soundtrack to the time period, reckoning the music of the rebellious 60’s which many of these characters are strongly connected to. Ashley Ann Woods’ scenic design fills out the Raven space expertly in creating the worn vastness of the Talley house. One small detail I noticed that distracted on the design spectrum was a bag of Scott’s fertilizer. It was the only element on stage that was clearly out of the appropriate time period with its computer graphic design on the contemporary bag. While not wholly taking away from the play, Wilson’s plays are deeply set in their time and every last detail should fit in the world. Analise Rahn, however, makes no missteps in her accurate and telling costume design, including a perfect dress for Shirley.

While this is a faithful revival of Wilson’s work, it doesn’t necessarily take many risks. Morgan gives us a crisp clean production that simply tells the story. A few more eccentricities throughout the cast may have aided in adding more intrigue to this family drama that is light on highly dramatic events. Nevertheless, it’s an interesting and transportive look into what the rebellious generation of the 60’s turned into a decade later. Many gave up their fight, and some held onto it. Resentment against Vietnam vets lingered on, as is evident with Kenneth, who made the decision not to run from the draft. It was a turbulent time, which is a point only hinted upon in Wilson’s play. With Shirley we see the next generation arising in the 80’s as she shouts at one point, “Me, me, me!”

Rating: ★★★

Fifth of July runs at the Raven Theatre Complex through July 10th. Performances are Thursday through Saturday at 8:30 PM, and Sunday at 3:30 PM. Tickets are $15 student, senior, industry and $20 general. There is a special $10 performance on Sunday, July 3rd. For tickets and more information visit infamouscommonwealth.com or call 773-516-4528.                                        

      Photos by Paul Metreyeon  

June 22, 2011 | 0 Comments More