Posted inNews & Politics

Field & Street

The rough-legged hawk is one of the best birds on my backyard list. To qualify for the list, the bird doesn’t need to actually enter the yard, but it does have to be visible from the yard. I saw my rough-leg twice within three days. The first time, it was quite far off, apparently flying […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Ignorance Is Bliss

To the editors: Although I realize the implication of admitting a close relationship with the subject of controversy, I simply cannot sit idly by and not react to John Bliss’s unthinking January 15 letter (“Playing at Theater”) about the Chicago Actors Ensemble. First let me make clear that my link with this group is a […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Miss Lulu Bett

MISS LULU BETT Center Theater Audiences love the breakaway play. We instinctively side with the unjustly abused–or neglected–character, particularly if they show even a hint of energy and resistance: Cinderella, Nora in A Doll’s House, Lizzie in The Rainmaker, Billie Dawn in Born Yesterday–or Miss Lulu Bett in Zona Gale’s 1921 Pulitzer Prize-winning play. We […]

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Hungry Hearts

LADIES’ NIGHT OUT Raven Theatre Company Have you ever stopped to think, goes one particularly dark joke that made the rounds a while back, that if Mama Cass had shared her sandwich with Karen Carpenter they might both be alive today? The two women in Mary Gallagher’s terrific little play, Chocolate Cake, are not as […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Apology for a Terrorist

The editor complained when he saw the story. You can’t apologize for a terrorist, he said. “But don’t you think people in this city would like to know how a native son came to be considered one of the most dangerous men in the country?” the reporter asked. The editor reminded him that Oscar Lopez-Rivera […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Memoir

MEMOIR Next Theatre The problem with one-man biographical plays is that they promise a sort of intimacy they can’t deliver. The format, in which some long-dead Great Person materializes and speaks directly to the audience, seems to offer us a way into the GP’s confidence. Mark Twain’s going to chat with us now, and Gertrude […]

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The Fan Club

THE FAN CLUB Chicago Dramatists Workshop A good hit-and-run Second City sketch would say more about couch potatoes than The Fan Club does in 110 excruciating minutes–and it would say it with accoutrements this play simply lacks, like wit, conflict, and surprise. To start, what Chicago playwright Joe Urbanik is out to indict isn’t exactly […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Vinegar Tom

VINEGAR TOM Trinity Square Ensemble at the Coronet Theatre Some time back, you may recall, Senator Albert Gore’s wife, Tipper, made headlines by spearheading a campaign to “expose” rock song lyrics that promoted drug-dabbling, salacious sex, and satanic sentiments. The campaign–deliberately launched in the summer, when there weren’t more serious items on the congressional agenda […]