Posted inTheater Review

Academic fireworks

You don’t have to be a sucker for love-hate romances among the literati to fall in love with Rehana Lew Mirza’s Hatefuck, but it helps. Then again, Lew Mirza’s play, now in its local premiere with First Floor Theater under Arti Ishak’s clever direction, provides a lens not usually implemented in tales of professional and […]

Posted inTheater Review

Messy Muslims

Chicago actor and community organizer Arti Ishak was tapped to audition for Hatefuck in 2020. They found the script exciting, like nothing they’d ever read. But the production was ultimately canceled in the wake of the pandemic, leaving Ishak determined to get this play up on a Chicago stage one way or another. Now it’s […]

Posted inTheater Review

Artistic licentiousness

Welcome to Florence, circa 1485, where the Medicis rule by fear and favors—and where their favorite bad-boy artist, Sandro Botticelli, is about to fuck around (literally) and find out. Canadian playwright/novelist Jordan Tannahill’s Botticelli in the Fire premiered in 2018, before COVID-19, but plague is one of the problems facing Lorenzo De Medici’s Renaissance fiefdom. […]

Posted inTheater Review

Dictator dictation

The energy in the Den Theater last Thursday was electric, as The Secretaries, written by Omer Abbas Salem and directed by Laura Alcalá Baker, made its highly anticipated debut with First Floor Theater. The dark comedic play was first developed through Goodman Theatre’s Future Labs and marks Salem’s first full production as a playwright in […]

Posted inArts & Culture

A Den of comedy

The last few months have been busy ones with theaters announcing new venues: if all goes well, American Blues, Steep, Northlight, and TimeLine will all be producing in their new homes sometime in the next couple of years. But the long COVID shutdown of 2020-21 also took away some venues that had provided rentals to […]