Posted inTheater Review

Home is where the heart is

Samm-Art Williams’s Home, first produced in 1979 with the seminal Negro Ensemble Company and then in a Tony-nominated run on Broadway in 1980, is considered a contemporary American classic, but it doesn’t get revived as much as it probably should. This feels especially self-evident when viewing Tim Rhoze’s stellar production for Fleetwood-Jourdain Theatre. Staged simply […]

Posted inTheater Review

Puppet revelations

Puppets are cool, but they are also creepy. Very creepy. Even the cute ones, like Kermit the Frog or Ollie the Dragon. There is just something deeply unnerving about how puppets seem like autonomous beings, even when their puppeteers are right there on stage with them. I think there is something deep and primal in […]

Posted inDance

Romance languages

Two years into this pestilence, the misery of war, the disappointment of mankind day after day weighing down desperate minds, with a future certain of nothing but social and planetary destruction, do we not long for a reprieve? As the nobleman Alonso Quijano sought glory in the guise of the knight Don Quixote, as a […]

Posted inFilm

Benediction

The recountal is tinged with documentary footage and nigh-experimental scintilla attempting to visualize the stuff of poetry that hint at this being something exceptional from a master’s intellect.

Posted inTheater Review

Get on the bus

The Uvalde school massacre put a somber hue on my mood going into 57 Blocks, Free Street Theater’s latest ensemble-created piece that takes a sharp look at public education. But by the end of the evening, which starts out at Free Street’s Pulaski Park home in Wicker Park, takes audiences on a bus down Ashland […]

Posted inFilm

Hit the Road

Being the son of the great Iranian dissident filmmaker Jafar Panahi and the protege of the late master director Abbas Kiarostami can’t help but cast a shadow, but if this digressive and slyly weighty debut is any indication, Panah Panahi will have no trouble making his own voice heard. A family of four drives through […]

Posted inTheater Review

Diner dialogues

This is an impeccable production of a play whose weaknesses outweigh its considerable strengths. It’s the 1960s episode of August Wilson’s Pittsburgh Cycle, tracing a century of life in the African American Hill District, and urban renewal shadows everything. (Jack Magaw’s set presents this vividly.) The diner where the play takes place is nearly empty […]

Posted inTheater Review

Tyrant times

Steve Scott directs a storefront production of Shakespeare’s wallow into the nature of unadorned power-lust and demagoguery. With a minimal set—a couple benches, steps with a recess to indicate the space for a throne—and little in the way of choreography or any other theatrical gimmickry, Promethean Theatre Ensemble leaves the Bard’s words to work their […]

Posted inTheater Review

The incredible journey

Six years ago, Brian Quijada and Teatro Vista teamed up to present Quijada’s solo show, Where Did We Sit on the Bus?, an endearing and poignant portrait of growing up in the Chicago suburbs as the child of Salvadoran immigrants. The title of that show came from a question young Brian had for his third-grade […]

Posted inTheater Review

Southern spells

A good play, suggests Tony Kushner in his 1995 anthology Thinking About the Longstanding Problems of Virtue, “should be overstuffed.” Memorably comparing well-constructed theater to lasagna, he writes that a work of theater “should have barely been rescued from the mess it might just as easily have been” and, at its best, “has a bursting […]