Director Barbara Gaines tries moral equivocation to address the most problematic of Shakespeare’s problem plays: Shylock is cruel, but the Christians drive him to it. The scene where Scott Jaeck’s choleric Antonio spits in Shylock’s yarmulke before shoving it on his head is particularly harsh. As Harold Bloom points out, the play only really works […]
Tag: Vol. 34 No. 51
Issue of Sep. 15 – 21, 2005
Director Claude Autant-Lara was one of the principal figures of the French “tradition of quality” that flourished during the Nazi occupation, and this 1943 masterpiece, which also introduced the writing team of Pierre Bost and Jean Aurenche, is the first of several great films he made. The radiant Odette Joyeux stars as the title heroine, […]
Like his father, author Larry, singer-songwriter James McMurtry brings a high-art sensibility to his portraits of common folk: the more prosaic the scene or downtrodden the characters, the more elegant his lyrics. It’s a good thing he has that talent, because too often his music is full of middle-of-the-road Mellencampisms–not quite rock ‘n’ roll or […]
Transformation Can Wait
The CHA has some 2,000 apartments sitting empty. What can’t Katrina evacuees use them?
Anton Chekhov invented the modern short story, which reveals characters’ lives through discrete but telling episodes. In the masterful 1892 “Ward 6,” he turned his gaze on the well-meaning but criminally negligent director of a mental hospital, Dr. Ragin. Convinced that truth lies only in the mind and that physical suffering is illusory, the doctor […]
The Book of Grendel
In Dan Telfer’s reimagining of Beowulf for Theater Oobleck, a church scribe arrives at the monster Grendel’s underwater lair several years before Beowulf, and together scribe and beast translate the lost Book of Judas. More than just a facile reversal of the original, with Beowulf as blustering warrior and Grendel as misunderstood misfit, this is […]
Look What the Wind Blew In; Bla Time
Hot-shit young trumpeter Maurice Brown, who’s been tearing it up in New Orleans for the last four years, comes home to Chicago.
The Reader’s Guide to the World Music Festival Chicago 2005
The big news about this year’s World Music Festival is that there really isn’t any news. Michael Orlove of the Department of Cultural Affairs, who’s organized all seven festivals, says that this year’s process was the smoothest yet–visas came through, and for the most part artists kept their commitments. (There was just one last-minute cancellation, […]
Through the years singers Cathy Irwin and Janet Bean, along with longtime bassist Dave Gay, have added some instrumental variety to their records by bringing in a single player like Jon Spiegel, Brian Dunn, Bob Egan, or Max Johnston. But on their last album, End Time (1999), they brought in a string section and full […]
All Tricked Out
Lookingglass’s new circus show looks good but has no heart.
Joe Meno is a fine writer, and his latest work, performed by the Go Cougars! ensemble, can be both witty and moving. Fresh acting by the two leads helps: James Vickery is Guy, the sad-sack vinyl-record collector who fidgets while on the night shift of a help desk, contemplating his empty life, and Kara Peterson […]
The Neighborly Modernist
Up-and-coming architect Zoka Zola shows us around her own award-winning house and her latest project, the Zero Energy home.
This left-handed salute to showbiz craziness brilliantly contrasts Gypsy Rose Lee’s “ugly duckling turns swan” tale of escape with the scary saga of Rose, stage mother from hell. Seldom have sharper lyrics (Stephen Sondheim) been paired with better tunes (Jule Styne) in a sturdier bio-book (Arthur Laurents). Porchlight Music Theatre Chicago’s revival makes up for […]
Into Hermit Country
Remember when your college roommate returned from his semester abroad with a lot of mildly amusing anecdotes and a firm conviction that he’d finally come of age? Jonathan Putman’s solo piece for Hermit Arts, about his time in Korea teaching English to children, is a lot like that. He seems like a nice enough guy, […]
The Phenix City Story
Phil Karlson’s noirish 1955 docudrama about organized crime is authentically seedy, shot in Alabama with adept use of many locals and an unusual candor about racist violence. Phenix City lawyer Albert Patterson (John McIntire) vows to clean up the corrupt gambling town as state attorney general, but he’s assassinated before he can take office, leaving […]