Tag: Rob Fenton

Review: Bootycandy (Windy City Playhouse)

Osiris Khepera stars in BOOTYCANDY, Windy City Playhouse           
      
  

Bootycandy

Written & Directed by Robert O’Hara
Windy City Playhouse, 3014 W. Irving Park (map)
thru April 15  |  tix: $25-$55  |  more info
       
Check for half-price tickets   
     

February 18, 2017 | 2 Comments More

Review: Port Authority (Writers Theatre)

Patrick Clear and John Hoogenakker star in Writers Theatre's "Port Authority" by Conor McPherson, directed by William Brown. (photo credit: Michael Brosilow)        
      
Port Authority

Written by Conor McPherson
Directed by William Brown 
at Writers Theatre, Glencoe (map)
thru Feb 16 Mar 2  |  tickets: $35-$70   |  more info
       
Check for half-price tickets 
    
        
                   Read review
     

November 16, 2013 | 0 Comments More

First Look 2013 Repertory of New Work (Steppenwolf Theatre)

David Seeber and Jennifer Avery in "Annie Bosh Is Missing" by Janine Nabers, directed by Shade Murray, part of Steppenwolf Theatre's 2013 First Look Repertory of New Work. (photo credit: Emily Schwartz)        
       
First Look 2013 
    
   
Repertory overview by Katy Walsh
Steppenwolf Garage, 1624 N. Halsted (map)
thru Aug 25  |  tickets: $20   |  more info 
     
         
        Read entire overview
     
August 24, 2013 | 0 Comments More

Review: columbinus (American Theater Company)

Matthew Bausone, Eric Folks and Aaron J. Nelson star in American Theater Company's "columbinus" by Stephen Karam and PJ Paparelli. (photo credit: Michael Brosilow)        
       
columbinus 

Written by Stephen Karam and PJ Paparelli
Directed by PJ Paparelli
American Theater Company, 1909 W. Byron (map)
thru March 10  |  tickets: $33-$43   |  more info
       
Check for half-price tickets 
    
        
        Read entire review
     

February 10, 2013 | 0 Comments More

Review: Macbeth: As the Dust Settles (TheMASSIVE)

Shawn Wilson as Macbeth in TheMASSIVE's "Macbeth: As the Dust Settles" by William Shakespeare, directed by Kyle Vincent Terry. (Photo by Dane Lewandowski)        
       
Macbeth:
      As the Dust Settles
 

Written by William Shakespeare  
Directed by Kyle Vincent Terry
at Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont (map)
thru Nov 11  |  tickets: $15-$20   |  more info 
        
     
         
        Read entire review
     

October 25, 2012 | 0 Comments More

Review: Princes of Waco (Signal Ensemble Theatre)

Rob Fenton (Jim) and Carolyn Braver (Esme) in Signal Ensemble Theatre's "Princes of Waco" by Robert Askins, directed by Bries Vannon. (photo credit: Johnny Knight)        
       
Princes of Waco 

Written by Robert Askins
Directed by Bries Vannon
Signal Ensemble Thtr, 1802 W. Berenice (map)
thru Sept 22  |  tickets: $15-$20   |  more info
       
Check for half-price tickets  
              
        Read entire review
     

August 24, 2012 | 1 Comment More

REVIEW: Too Much Memory (SiNNERMAN Ensemble)

A Terrible Beauty Is Born

 

Antigone (Anna Carini, foreground) illegally burries her brother despite the opposition of her family and the people (standing, from left to right, Dominica Fisher as Chorus, Ebony Wimbs as Jones, Calliope Porter as Eurydice, Jeremy Fisher as Barnes, Brett Schneider as Haemon and Cyd Blakewell as Ismene), in SiNNERMAN Ensemble's Midwest premiere of “Too Much Memory,” Keith Reddin and Meg Gibson's explosive contemporary adaptation of the Greek Antigone tragedy, directed by Anna C. Bahow, October 7-November 13, 2010. Photo by Kevin Viol.

   
 SiNNERMAN Ensemble presents
      
Too Much Memory
       
Written by Keith Reddin and Meg Gibson
Directed by
Anna C. Bahow
at
The Side Project, 1439 W. Jarvis (map)
Through Nov. 13  |  tickets: $20  |  more info

reviewed by Lawrence Bommer

The Greek legend that recounts Antigone’s defiance of the tyrant Creon resonates through the centuries. It seems painfully real today because there’s nothing black-and-white about this conflict between anarchy versus order, justice versus law, and religion versus the state. Sophocles’ tragedy makes us see both sides (and sometimes switch them as we watch). Antigone is driven to bury her disgraced brother, a rebel against Creon’s Corinth, so that he may reach the afterlife–so much so that she will accept, and even welcome, martyrdom. Creon cannot permit this rebel to become, even in death, a rallying point for rebellion.

Antigone (Anna Carini, bottom left) buries her brother in defiance of her uncle Creon's law and he attempts to maintain control (standing, from left to right: Calliope Porter as Eurydice, Jeremy Fisher as Barnes, Howie Johnson as Creon, Ebony Wimbs as Jones, Brett Schneider as Haemon, Dominica Fisher as Chorus and Cyd Blakewell as Ismene), in SiNNERMAN Ensemble's Midwest premiere of “Too Much Memory,” Keith Reddin and Meg Gibson's explosive contemporary adaptation of the Greek Antigone tragedy, directed by Anna C. Bahow, October 7-November 13, 2010. Photo by Kevin Viol. Even though these implacable adversaries cannot compromise, the audience sees this as a complex conflict between powerful and often necessary forces—law and order against the constant fight for freedom. In Sinnerman Ensemble’s Midwest premiere of this updated version by topical playwrights Keith Reddin and Meg Gibson, the ancient struggle is colloquially new, with references to torture (Antigone is waterboarded), the media (the chorus, Domenica Fisher, is an on-site TV reporter who can only digest “news bites”), political trappings (Antigone and Creon attack each other on a closed-circuit feed), and Iraq and Afghanistan (the soldiers are confused about their mission or the morality of their superiors). But Antigone and Creon are united by one thing: Each declares, “I have no choice.” Each wants to belong to something greater than themselves, but ultimately they stand or fall on who they are and what they do.

Calling itself “an adaptation of an adaptation of a retranslation,” this new 80-minute version wants to both distance us from the original Athenian premiere (there’s even a strange exchange in French between the principal lovers) and to bring it home with a vengeance. In Anna Bahow’s well-tempered staging Howie Johnson plays Creon as a big-city boss with a very guilty conscience. Brett Schneider, as Creon’s son and Antigone’s fiancé Haemon, is helpless to mediate between his father and his lover. Likewise, as Antigone’s more practical (and surviving) sister Ismene, Cyd Blakewell haplessly agonizes from the sidelines.

Giving voice to a previously silent character, Calliope Porter as Creon’s much neglected wife registers her fury at being taken for granted until she’s forgotten altogether. Equally humanizing is the authors’ treatment of Jones (Ebony Wimbs), a soldier who finds more in common with Antigone than she ever expected.

 

Too Much Memory_03 Too Much Memory_06

Then there’s Anna Carini’s daredevil Antigone, a coiled and almost cool fanatic improbably bent on the ritual sacrifice of her own life to protect a dead brother. She defies logic as much as she does Creon and, as Yeats said about the Irish guerrillas who fought the English, “A terrible beauty is born.” Antigone is not that far in style or substance from the suicide bombers of religious terrorism. She’s part of our world in more ways than one: When she delivers her final loving farewell to Haemon (via the video camera of Jones’ cellphone), it’s strangely touching as well as technological.

That’s the point of an updating that, strangely enough, may in a few years seem more dated than Sophocles’ timeless telling. Keeping it real doesn’t always mean keeping it new. Still, right now it’s got the common touch and needs no translation. The irony, however, of Too Much Memory is that for many audience members the original story of how Oedipus’ daughter sought and met her doom may well be forgotten. Better to refresh your own memory before seeing this very 2010 retelling of a young extremist’s date with death.

   
  
Rating: ★★★
  
  

Haemon's fights back when his father Creon condemns Haemon's fiance, Antigone, to death (from left to right, Ebony Wimbs as Jones, Brett Schneider as Haemon, Jeremy Fisher as Barnes, Howie Johnson as Creon and Calliope Porter as Eurydice), in SiNNERMAN Ensemble's Midwest premiere of “Too Much Memory,” Keith Reddin and Meg Gibson's explosive contemporary adaptation of the Greek Antigone tragedy, directed by Anna C. Bahow, October 7-November 13, 2010. Photo by Kevin Viol.

 

October 7, 2010 | 0 Comments More

REVIEW: Cherrywood (Mary-Arrchie Theatre)

Party on, Dude!

 

cherrywood

  
Mary-Arrchie Theatre presents
  
Cherrywood: The Modern Day Comparable
   
Written by Kirk Lynn
Directed by
David Cromer
at
Angel Island Theatre, 735 W. Sheridan (map)
through August 8th  |  tickets:  $13-$22  |  more info

reviewed by Katy Walsh

Fliers announce ‘Party Tonite for anyone who wants a change.’ Mary-Arrchie Theatre presents the Midwest premiere of Cherrywood: The Modern Day Comparable.  A foursome decides to host a party. They have three kinds of chips, an array of music, bottles of booze and a shots of… milk? In response to their fliers, the guests arrive and fill up the house. The usual party suspects are all present. Free loading crashers. Whiny girl. Depressed divorced guy. Unwanted neighbor. Gaggle of gals in bathroom line. P.D.A. couple on the dance floor. Hot shirtless guy. Person continually announcing ‘I’m wasted.’ Sporadic drunken wrestling. It feels, looks and sounds familiar except with a couple of twists: Somebody brought a gun. Everybody has been drinking wild wolves’ milk. People are opening boxes of their secret desires. Cherrywood: The Modern Day Comparable is a virtual reality party experience without the pressure to mingle or the aid of a cocktail.

In a large living-room-like space, the audience seats encircle the action. Closely matched in numbers, the 50+ wallflowers watch the 49 performers party. It’s such a tight fit that I needed to move my purse before a guy sat on it. Director David Cromer has gone fire-code-capacity to create an authentic party.

The proximity blurs the fourth wall completely in deciphering between the party gawkers versus goers. I consciously refrain from shouting out an answer to ‘name a good band that starts with the letter ‘A’.’ It seems like a jumbling of improv mixed in with scripted lines. Crediting playwright Kirk Lynn with some of the best lines, it’s existentialism goes rave with the ongoing philosophy ‘if you want something different, ask for it.’ Lynn writes dialogue describing cocktail banter as ‘question-answer-it-doesn’t-always-happen-like-that’ mockery. One character describes herself with ‘everything I do is a form of nodding. I want to break my neck to stop nodding.’ In a heated exchange, the neighbor jabs, ‘you remember the world? It’s the room outside the door.’ It’s genuine party chatter. Some conversations are playful. Some are deep. Some just don’t make any sense. Clusters of people are sharing philosophical drunken babble throughout the room. A gunshot brings the house of strangers together in a communal bonding alliance.

For the theatre goer looking for a break from classic plot driven shows, Cherrywood: The Modern Day Comparable is performance art. It is a ‘Party Tonite for anyone who wants a change.’ For those who wonder what Chicago actors and designers do off-season, this is an opportunity to fly-on-the-wall it. If you’ve anticipated they hang out together and party, this would be your imagined drunken haze. The who’s who of storefront theater is boozing it up. It’s a Steep, Lifeline, Dog & Pony, House, Griffin, etc. reunion bash, and man do they know how to party!

  
   
Rating: ★★★
       
    

Running Time: Ninety minutes with no intermission

June 25, 2010 | 0 Comments More