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Soap Opera

SOAP OPERA Clean Fill Group at Sheffield’s We 80s kinds of folks tend to be long on self-involvement. Self-analysis, self-help, self-abuse — anything with the word “self” in it is automatically a popular topic of conversation. But the fact remains, man being a social animal and all, that the best way to find out about […]

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A Man and His Bunny

HARVEY Raven Theatre Company Whatever happened to all the imaginary friends we had as kids? Did they all end up in some limbo where they started making friends with each other, or, like Peter Pan, did they transfer their affections to a new generation of make-believers? Anyway, they’re no longer there when you need them […]

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Twelfth Night

TWELFTH NIGHT Chicago Shakespeare Company at the Immediate Theatre In 1936, a Young Turk named Orson Welles mounted an all-black Macbeth, set in Haiti. In that same period, in England, Tyrone Guthrie was breathing new life into the Old Vic by showing the same irreverence for tradition. Guthrie took flak from critics who considered his […]

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Godspell

GODSPELL at the Ivanhoe Theater I went to see the original production of Godspell shortly after it opened off-Broadway in 1971, and I sat next to a guy who spoke some foreign language — Hungarian maybe, or some Slavic dialect. He sat chatting with his girlfriend, who spoke back to him in English, and I […]

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Foxfire

FOXFIRE Touchstone Theatre My grandmother just died at the age of 91. She lived in the same world we do, but she had one foot firmly planted in the 19th century, a world of horse-drawn wagons, kerosene lanterns, sewing bees, and barn raisings. Every time I visited her, I was struck by some strange anachronism […]

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Private Lives

PRIVATE LIVES Court Theatre “Strange,” muses one of the lovers in Private Lives, as an offstage orchestra plays a melancholy tune, “how potent cheap music is.” Private Lives, too, is potent, but there’s nothing cheap about it. Nearly 60 years after it took London and Broadway by storm, Noel Coward’s classy comedy of marital manners […]

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Shepard’s Hope

A LIE OF THE MIND Steppenwolf Theatre I’M NOT RAPPAPORT at the Shubert Theatre Though hardly a bomb, Sam Shepard’s A Lie of the Mind encountered a lot of negative reaction when it ran, under Shepard’s own direction, in New York City. The unspoken reason, I think, being that people had finally got just a […]

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Pinter/Patter

PINTER/PATTER Stage Left Theatre There are two one-act plays on the evening’s bill: The Patter of Tiny Mice, an original work by local playwright Anne Godden-Segard, and The Lover, a 1963 play by Harold Pinter. The Lover is excellent. The only problem is that you have to sit through the other play first. Wouldn’t you […]

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Unfinshed Business: The AIDS Show

UNFINISHED BUSINESS: THE AIDS SHOW at Bailiwick Repertory It’s impossible to fault the good intentions that fuel Unfinished Business: The AIDS Show. The cast and production team are working for free; the entire budget has been underwritten by donations from various foundations and individuals; and all box-office proceeds are going to the AIDS Foundation of […]

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The Perfect Party

THE PERFECT PARTY Northlight Theatre When sex manuals started to become best-sellers, somehow it made a sad kind of sense. Despite their rhetoric, Americans have always betrayed a certain fear of spontaneity, of letting things (let alone people and even nations) take their course. It makes us hard on ourselves, this desire to reach perfection […]

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Rollin’ With Stevens and Stewart

ROLLIN’ WITH STEVENS AND STEWART at the Amethyst Even with its attempt at supper-club ambience — white tablecloths, candlelight, and flowers — Edgewater’s Amethyst Bar and Grill is pretty funky. And its bare-brick back room in the past has played host primarily to experimental theater — some of it successful, most of it interesting, but […]

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The Last Days of Tennessee

CONFESSIONS OF A NIGHTINGALE at the Theatre Building “I’m gonna let it all hang out,” drawls Tennessee Williams at the start of Confessions of a Nightingale. The statement, so self-consciously “hip,” with its air of a naughty adolescent rebelling against propriety, barely masks its speaker’s tenuous self-confidence; these are the words of a man who’s […]

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Dreamscape of the Falcon

DREAMSCAPE OF THE FALCON Igloo, the Theatrical Group Turning and turning in the widening gyre The falcon cannot hear the falconer; Things fall apart; the center cannot hold; Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world . . . –from “The Second Coming” by William Butler Yeats It’s not so surprising, I suppose, that Paul Peditto’s […]