Category: Chicago Theater

Plays to go see now! The Bottle Tree by Beth Kander

 

Back in May, I announced with some fanfare the Theater Reviews For People Who Are Afraid Of Bad Theater! But then, ironically, we didn’t see any theater, bad or otherwise, for the rest of the summer because J was in a show of his own and I had to stay home with the baby.*

Now we are back in the normal swing of things, and yesterday we finally managed to hire a babysitter, get ourselves into presentable adult clothes, and actually leave the house together to go the opening night of Stage Left’s production of The Bottle Tree by Beth Kander.

It was fantastic, so I’m excited to properly kick of this series with a play I can wholeheartedly recommend. It runs until Nov 20th, tickets cost $20/30, and a spoiler free Q&A is below!

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The Women I Know: Thoughts On The Abuse At Profiles And Being A Bystander

Profiles Theater front

Profiles Theater papered with copies of The Chicago Reader in the days after the article was published

Cox was jealous and controlling, Sara says. He convinced her to destroy the blouses she wore to work because he thought they were too revealing. He would look through old photo albums with her. “You want to keep that one, hon, do you?” she remembers him asking when they came across pictures of her high school boyfriend. “You don’t want to keep that picture. You should just rip it up. If you love me, rip that up.” He insisted on being in the room whenever she talked on the phone to her family. Slowly, Sara felt him chipping away at her personality.

The theater community in Chicago has been reeling this month, after The Chicago Reader published an exposé of alleged abuse at the now-closed storefront theatre company Profiles. The result of a year-long investigation, journalists Aimee Levitt and Christopher Piatt documented a climate of fear, intimidation, and violence perpetuated and enabled by the two men responsible for much of the theater’s output over the two decades: Darrell W. Cox and Joe Jahraus. Continue reading

Introducing: Theater reviews for people who are afraid of bad theater

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Bad Phantom. Via the Show Nuff tumblr of bad theater publicity photos

In the seven years I lived in Chicago before I met J, I think I saw a total of 2 or 3 plays. After we got together we saw about 2 or 3 a week. Now we have the baby, I maybe see about that many a month.

J is my own personal theater planner, guiding me to things he knows I will like, that are well acted, and telling stories I’ll be interested in hearing.

Ok, occasionally we see stuff that fails on all those counts… But at least he’ll warn me ahead of time, so I know what I’m getting myself into. Continue reading

The Flick: Portraying Low Paid Workers With Respect

r6jv77We finally went to see The Flick by Annie Baker at Steppenwolf this month, catching it just before it closed. It’s one of those plays I first encountered in fragments, as I helped J learn lines from a handful of scenes, and was curious enough about to badger him into getting us tickets.

J seemed a bit concerned I might not like it. He reminded me several times it’s over 3 hours long and has a reputation for being a bit tricky. (I suspect he still hasn’t forgiven me for hating Waiting For Godot.) The trickiness, it seems, comes from Baker’s use of silence. The play runs 3 hours 10 minutes but only has about 70 pages of actual dialogue, which means there are a lot of long pauses or moments when the actors are moving about the stage but not saying anything to each other.

Apparently the first time The Flick was performed, the (mostly subscriber) audience was furious, and in every performance including the one I saw, the audience was a lot thinner after the interval.

All this throws up interesting questions about the extent to which we associate “something happening” in a play with “people are talking” as opposed to “people are moving around on stage.” But I found The Flick utterly absorbing, helped no doubt by the very high quality of the production and the wonderful cast. Continue reading