Tag: Trap Door Theatre

Review: The Balcony (Trap Door Theatre)

Nicole Wiesner and Thom Pasculii star in Trap Door Theatre's "The Balcony" by Jean Genet, directed by Max Truax. (photo credit: Michal Janicki)       
The Balcony 

Written by Jean Genet  
Translated by Bernard Frechtman
Directed by Max Truax
Trap Door Theatre, 1655 W. Cortland (map)
thru Oct 12  |  tickets: $20-$25   |  more info
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September 11, 2013 | 0 Comments More

Review: The Arsonists (Trap Door Theatre)

Trap Door Theatre's "The Arsonists" by Max Frisch, directed by Victor Quezada-Pere. (photo credit: Michal Janicki)        
The Arsonists

Written by Max Frisch  
Translated by Alistair Beaton   
Directed by Victor Quezada-Pere
Trap Door Theatre, 1655 W. Cortland (map)
thru Nov 17  |  tickets: $20-$25   |  more info
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October 16, 2012 | 0 Comments More

Review: Smartphones – A Pocket-Size Farce

Jodi Kingsley as Chantal and Geraldine Dulex as Amelia, in Trap Door Theatre's "Smartphones: A Pocket-Size Farce", written and directed by Emilio Williams.        
    A Pocket-Size Farce

Written and Directed by Emilio Williams  
Trap Door Theatre, 1655 W. Cortland (map)
thru Aug 18  |  tickets: $20   |  more info
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July 22, 2012 | 1 Comment More

Review: Anger/Fly (Trap Door Theatre)

David Steiger and Tiffany Bedwell, in a scene from Trap Door Theatre's "Anger/Fly" by Ruth Margraff, directed by Kate Hendrickson. (photo credit: Michal Janicki)       

Written by Ruth Margraff  
Directed by Kate Hendrickson
at Trap Door Theatre, 1655 W. Cortland (map)
thru June 30  |  tickets: $20-$25   |  more info
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May 28, 2012 | 0 Comments More

Review: As You Like It (Strangeloop Theatre)

Peter Robards, as Touchstone, in Strangeloop Theatre's "As You Like It - A New Adaptation", adapted by Letitia Guilland. (photo credit: Genevieve Sauvage)       
As You Like It
     (A New Adaptation)

Written by  William Shakespeare
Adapted by Letitia Guilland   
Directed by Brad Gunter
at Trap Door Theatre, 1655 W. Cortland (map)
thru May 6  |  tickets: $10-$15   |  more info
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April 8, 2012 | 1 Comment More

Review: They Are Dying Out (Trap Door Theatre)

They Are Dying Out 

Written by Peter Handke
Translated by Michael Roloff
Directed by Max Truax  
at Trap Door Theatre, 1655 W. Cortland (map)
thru March 24  |  tickets: $20-$25   |  more info
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February 22, 2012 | 3 Comments More

Review: The Tragedie of Hamlet, Prince of Denmarke -(re)discover theatre

Jessica Shoemaker as Laertes in (re)discover theatre's "The Tragedie of Hamlet, Prince of Denmarke", directed by Matthew Wills.       
The Tragedie of Hamlet,
    Prince of Denmarke

Written by William Shakespeare  
Directed by Matthew Wills
at Luna Central, 3914 N. Clark (map)
thru Feb 25 |  tickets: $12   |  more info
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February 20, 2012 | 0 Comments More

The best of Chicago theater in 2011

December’s end brings frantic resolutions, plans for heavy drinking and of course, a barrage of best/worst lists. Being the largest theater review site west of Broadway, Chicago Theater Beat covered over 600 shows in 2011, and the difficulty of choosing the top 25 speaks to the city’s vibrant cultural landscape. In alphabetical order, here are our choices for the year’s best:

Sadieh Rifai - American Theater Company - The Amish Project Mierka Girten, Susan Monts-Bologna - Becky Shaw, Red Orchid Theatre Mortensen, Leahy - The Big Meal, American Theater Company CST_BlackWatch_1 - Copy Jay Torrence, Dean Evans, Leah Urzendowski, Ryan Walters, Molly Plunk
Theatre Mir - Caucasian Chalk Circle - Production 1 Jennifer Lim and James Waterston - Chinglish Goodman Theatre Karen-Aldridge-Cliff-Chamberlain-Ste[3] East of Berlin, Russian Play - Signal Ensemble en-route---Chicago-Shakespeare-One-S[2]
Faust - TheMASSIVE - Chicago Festen_Lev_911 Chicago Shakespeare Theater's "Follies" About Face Theatre's "The Homosexuals" Timothy-Edward-Kane---Court-Theatre-[3]
CCTJackieMe_10 Frank, Fiffer, Bone Harry Groener, Ora Jones, by Peter Bosy Steve-Casillas-Jessie-David-Marvin-Q Andrea Prestinario and Nathan M. Hosner - My Fair Lady Paramount Theatre
Outgoing Tide - Northlight Theatre 011 004_Passing Strange by Bailiwick Chicago Plumpp-and-cast---H1 The Real Thing by Tom Stoppard - Writers Theatre 015 stef-tovar-and-projections-by-john-b[1]


                     See entire list

December 31, 2011 | 0 Comments More

Review: the word ‘progress’ on my mother’s lips doesn’t ring true (Trap Door Theatre)

Kevin Cox, Trap Door Theatre, photo by Istvan Szabo        
   the word ‘progress’
   on my mother’s lips 
   doesn’t ring true

Written by Matei Visneic
Translated by Joyce Nettles
Directed by Istvan Szabo
Trap Door Theatre, 1655 W. Cortland (map)
thru Jan 14  |  tickets: $20-$25   |  more info 
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December 17, 2011 | 0 Comments More

Review: OVERWEIGHT, unimportant: MISSHAPE – A European Supper (Trap Door Theatre)

David Holcombe, HB Ward, Nicole Wiesner, Kirk Anderson, Geraldine Dulex        
OVERWEIGHT, unimportant:
MISSHAPE-A European Supper

Written by Werner Schwab
Translated by Michael Mitchell 
Directed by Yasen Peyankov   
at Trap Door Theatre, 1655 W. Cortland (map)
thru Nov 12  |  tickets: $20-$25   |  more info

Check for half-price tickets      
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October 15, 2011 | 1 Comment More

Review: Strangers and Romance (Strangeloop Theatre)

Stacie Barra Tournis, Timothy C. Amos - Strangeloop Strangers and Romance 

Written by Barbara Lhota 
Directed by Doug Long
at Trap Door Theatre, 1655 W. Cortland (map)
thru Sept 18  |  tickets: $15  |  more info

Check for half-price tickets 

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August 21, 2011 | 0 Comments More

Review: Sister Calling My Name (Uncovered Theatre)


Tennessee Williams finds religion



Uncovered Theatre presents
Sister Calling My Name
Written by Buzz McLaughlin
Directed by Rob Arbaugh
at Trap Door Theatre, 1655 W. Cortland (map)
through June 12  |  tickets: $15  |  more info

Reviewed by Barry Eitel 

Although it isn’t explicitly mentioned in their mission statement, Chicago newcomer Uncovered Theatre has a definite Christian bent. Not only does their debut production, Sister Calling My Name, dabble quite heavily in Catholicism, their list of donors reveals several Christian charities. With a city where every theatre company has their niche, it’s refreshing that Uncovered decided to cater to a Christian crowd. Sort of. Buzz McLaughlin’s Sister Calling My Name veers dangerously close to a Sunday School video with a few naughty words thrown in. While some intriguingly honest dissenting opinions are explored, they are simply cast off by the end. I think director Rob Arbaugh was aiming for contemplative but he winds up with preachy.

Let’s not forget that people are paying good money for these seats. It seems deceitful to wholeheartedly shove a worldview down their throats without fair warning, no matter if the point of view is religious, political or otherwise. This play definitely had my Catholic guilt churning. After about the third or fourth “Hail Mary” said on-stage, I felt compelled to go to confession. (I guess they got me. Well played.)

McLaughlin’s script is ripped straight out of Tennessee Williams’ The Glass Menagerie. A cynical young man, Michael (Luke Daigle), keys the audience into his memories, most of which concern his disabled sister, Lindsey (but here she’s severely mentally retarded, played by Katie Cheely). Empty picture frames hang from the walls. Supposedly colorful paintings are presented as stark white paper. Instead of an overbearing Southern mother, though, we get Sister Anne (Kelly Helgeson), the sister’s overseer and former flame of Michael. It’s all a bit too close to Williams’ masterpiece for comfort.

The basic premise is that Michael has crossed Lindsey out of his life for years. Lindsey becomes a successful painter yet has no one to manage the huge sums of money people are paying. Sister Anne phones up Michael to let him know the situation, telling him he has a legal obligation. He visits, sticks around, and offers plenty of thoughts regarding religion. Maybe he feels called by God. Maybe he feels an underlying desire to see his sister. Or maybe he’s hoping Sister Anne will leave the Church for him. Half of McLaughlin’s play is devoid of stakes—you’re wondering why Michael doesn’t just bolt once he finds out Sister Anne tricked him into coming out.

Even though the finale is predictable and didactic, Sister Calling My Name isn’t empty of complexity. I was worried they would equate Lindsey’s condition to possession by evil spirits, but that never happens. Lindsey’s story is pretty bleak. There’s no shying away from the real-life horrors many similarly disabled people face, which imparts some honesty to the text. And Michael raises some nagging existential questions. God, seemingly, made his life (and Lindsey’s, for that matter) awful. Why shouldn’t he hate God?

McLaughlin’s answers are unsatisfying. Instead of the touchingly sad ending of Williams’ play, this ties itself up too nicely. And Michael’s vitriolic hate for his sister rings false—his constant referring to her as “subhuman” didn’t match the rest of his character.

Daigle’s performance occasionally dips into melodrama and he can’t work out the script’s glaring holes, but he’s a decent go-between for the audience. Cheely plays Lindsey simply and honestly, carefully avoiding an offensive depiction of disability. Helgeson’s nun is great, if sometimes overly earnest.

It’d be easy to dismiss Uncovered as missionaries on a stage (most of them hail from Regent University), but I don’t think that’s necessarily so. Sister Calling My Name’s religious message doesn’t fully convey the complexities of the situation it sets up. They can leave some hard questions unanswered. That’s just how life works sometimes.

Rating: ★★


June 8, 2011 | 1 Comment More