Posted inArts & Culture

The Glass Menagerie

Charles Newell’s minimalist revival dispenses with chunks of dialogue, a realistic set, and intermission, offering a swift, concentrated take on Tennessee Williams’s sad and angry masterwork. Sound and light shifts suggest the fretful memory of the narrator, Laura’s brother Tom, who often remains onstage eavesdropping on searing scenes he’ll later painfully recall–though the spare set […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Yes, He Can

Your recent article by Keith Harris, “Bitter Without Bite” [March 17], was the most masturbatory and useless exploitation of vocabulary I’ve encountered in a long long long time. In fact, after ingesting that piece of pseudo-literary crap, I feel at least three IQ points dumber. Either I’m missing something, or this is really the boring […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Tape

Following playwright Stephen Belber’s own stage directions, this production cleverly alternates live performance with video sequences–a blend that works well, thanks in part to video artists Colby Hanik and Aaron Covich. Together technological innovation and fine acting give dramatic power to what might otherwise be a rather slack, overlong play. A troubled man in his […]

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God’s Work

“I was born four times,” says Rachel, the protagonist of this work created by the talented young Albany Park Theater Project. Twice she was born into life in an unheated basement with a swarm of siblings, all of them under the draconian rule of a religion-obsessed father, and twice into the sanctuary of an affectionate […]

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A Flea in Her Ear

Georges Feydeau’s ur-farce, as translated by contemporary farceur David Ives and directed by Gary Griffin, isn’t a nonstop gut buster. But it is a satisfying bonbon of a show, stuffed with sly high-caliber performances. The cast are mostly local folks, including the redoubtable Rick Hall in the dual role of stuffy insurance executive Chandebise and […]

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Kasper T. Toeplitz

Clad in black leather and sporting a Mohawk, Kasper T. Toeplitz strikes a badass pose onstage, and his music backs it up. At his first Chicago concert in 2001, the Warsaw-born, Paris-based composer, bassist, and computer musician premiered Yam Almost May, a throbbing yet lyrical drone piece by Phill Niblock composed from samples of Toeplitz’s […]

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David Murray Quartet

Since the mid-70s saxophonist David Murray has thrived anywhere he’s put down roots. In his trademark woolly postbop mode he’s led groups ranging in size from trios to big bands, and he’s also performed in wide-ranging collaborative settings like the World Saxophone Quartet, a revisionist organ combo with Don Pullen, and cross-cultural projects with Guadeloupean, […]

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Triplette in: Antagony

Hatred is the subject of this feisty sketch show, Triplette’s fourth. Roommates offstage, the three women turn head games into heady humor by exploiting the power dynamics of everyday and only-on-stage situations: a hungry grocery shopper clashes with a free-sample attendant, a woman grows jealous of her shadowy “understudy for life.” In one sequence they […]

Posted inArts & Culture

The Pirates of Penzance

As in Wilford Leach’s acclaimed 1981 production, later a film, director William Osetek soft-pedals Gilbert and Sullivan’s operatic score. But if you neutralize the music, you must dial up the comedy–and Osetek’s uninspired staging offers merely a bland story about silly, inept pirates sniffing around maidens in Victorian England. Die-hard G & S fans will […]

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Voyeurs de Venus

Somewhere in Lydia R. Diamond’s overlong, overwritten theatrical exercise is a powerful play. She interweaves the stories of Saartjie Baartman, the 19th-century “Hottentot” displayed like a circus animal for five years to European “polite” society, and Sara Washington, a present-day feminist academic offered a lucrative book deal to write Baartman’s biography. But in our era […]