Ivywild, the new play by the ever-audacious The Hypocrites, is part carnival, part Chicago history lesson. And it is a delightful 90 minutes of fact mixed with fantasy. The full title of the show is Ivywild, The True Tall Tales of Bathhouse John, written by Jay Torrence and directed by The Hypocrites’ artistic director Halena Kays.
Read more: Ivywild: Part Carnival, Part History
Outside of Geneva, Switzerland, is a giant, revolutionary machine called the Large Hadron Collider. This machine is a particle accelerator that mocks the conditions directly following the Big Bang that supposedly created the universe. To operate the machine, physicists fire two beams of sub-atomic particles called hadrons (either protons or lead ions) directly at each other. The beams gain energy as they travel around the massive, circular tunnel and when they collide, newly created particles explode in every direction in a miniature representation of the beginnings of the galaxy. This whole concept is crazy but incredibly powerful. In the same way, Next Theater Company’s production of Jonathan Safran Foer’s Everything is Illuminated is a play that forces extreme opposites to collide with spectacular results. The first act left the audience bent in half laughing, and yet in the second, there wasn’t a dry eye in the theater.
Read more: Next Theater Company: The Bitch and the Jew Will Share the Back Seat
Collaboractions' new and original production, Crime Scene: A Chicago Anthology creates a bridge between entertainment, social justice and public service — there is sophisticated lighting and choreography, touching musical interludes, comic relief and captivating, hyper-dramatic moments that we expect from theater, but to call this play entertainment is almost blasphemy. Luckily for us, it is still entertaining. Crime Scene has a clear agenda, though — to call attention to Chicago’s serious and escalating crime problem by re-enacting three key homicides that took place in the city over the past few years.
Read more: Crime Scene: A Chicago Anthology is a Poignant Call to Arms
On April 20, 1999, Colorado changed forever. At 11:19am, 10.3 miles south of my elementary school, Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris began the massacre that claimed the lives of 12 students and one teacher, and injured countless others at Columbine High School. Before Columbine, a school shooting had never been heard of in Colorado. Since 1999, there have been many.
The shooting happened 13 years ago, but I woke up this morning feeling as though it was yesterday. Last night, I was a guest at the American Theater Company's performance of Stephen Karam and PJ Paparelli's Columbinus, a three-act “theatrical discussion” of the tragedy based on old and new interviews with survivors and their parents, and one of the best productions I have ever seen.
Read more: Columbinus: Silence is Deadly
13-to-30 wonders aloud “What Did Jesus Do?” from the age of 13, the last time he was publicly seen, to 30, when he comes out of hiding, picks twelve men of varying spiritual and emotional challenges, and spreads his ideals throughout the Middle East. Our intrepid attendant explains that he often wonders when gazing upon his “WWJD” bracelet how Jesus got through his “awkward” teen years, what challenges Jesus faced as a young man. Was Mary the Central Casting construct of a Jewish mother — overprotective, too proud, self-deprecating for the sake of her son? And was Joseph the best (step)dad ever, winningly, albeit awkwardly, filling in for God the way Mike Brady filled in with Marsha Jan and Cindy? Was Jesus as embarrassed by his inability to control his budding super powers as he was with controlling the physical and emotional changes in His human body? Was Jesus traipsing about and exploring the Silk Road and the Far East? Did he meet Buddha and crib his notes? What about Schrödinger ‘s Cat — did Erwin Schrödinger crib Jesus’s notes?
Read more in Alice Singleton’s review: Brotherly Love Theater Company Breaks into the Chicago Scene with 13 to 30
photo by Man_of Steel
So easy to miss The Aragon’s amazing entryway as you bustle in for a concert.
Not one but two zombie-related posts in A/C today:
The Gacy Play is a re-imagined look at who John Wayne Gacy was. Director Jonathan L. Green said, “What is brave about this script is that there is no real violence in it, no blood, no murder: The Gacy Play is not directly about and does not try to depict the murders committed by John Wayne Gacy, Jr.” It still doesn’t discount or discredit the atrocities Gacy was responsible for, but takes a fresh perspective on his personal relationships, his view of himself, and the universal propensity for keeping secrets.
The Gacy Play opens tonight, June 28, at Theater Wit. Read more in <a href=”http://gapersblock.com/ac/2012/06/28/review-the-gacy-play-at-theater-wit/”>Jana Dons’ review</a>.
Regina Taylor’s Crowns opens at the Goodman Theatre Satuday, June 30. Now in its 10th year, Crowns is the definitive story of the cultural tradition of wearing “crowns” and their significance and symbolism for African-Americans in both the church culture and the community at-large. Recently, LaShawn Williams sat down with two of the stars, E. Faye Butler and Tony-nominated actress Felicia Fields, to talk about the play, their characters, and what it means to have “hattitude.” Read the interview in A/C.