Windy City Media Group Frontpage News Home
CELEBRATING 28+ YEARS OF Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender NEWS

Search Gay News Articles
Advanced Search
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2014-10-22
Download Issue
  News Index       Archives   About WCMG    Publications    Bars & Clubs     Calendar   Videos   Advertisers    OUT! Guide    Classifieds   AIDS @ 32
 Local | National | World | Politics | Obits | Profiles | Views | Entertainment | Theater | Dance | Music | Film | Art | Books | TV/Gossip
 Travel | History | Marriage | Youth | Trans | Lesbian | Celebrations | Food | Nightlife | Sports | Health | Real Estate | Autos | Pets | Crime

NUNN ON ONE: TELEVISION Macy Gray shows us 'The Way' NUNN ON ONE: TELEVISION
Macy Gray
shows us 'The Way'
The raspy-voiced pop singer Macy Gray continues to dance to the beat ...

Browse Gay News Index   Browse Gay News Archives
  Windy City Times

Theater: The Dressing Room and The $30,000 Bequest
2007-03-28

facebook twitter del.icio.us stumble upon digg google +1 reddit email


The Dressing Room

Playwright: Kunio Shimizu, translated by John K. Gillespie

The $30,000 Bequest

Playwright: adapted by Alexander Gelman from the story by Mark Twain

At: Organic Theater Company at the Ruth Page Auditorium, 1016 N. Dearborn

Phone: 800-595-4849; $29

Runs through: April 8

BY MARY SHEN BARNIDGE

When most theatre companies die, they never rise again. Chicago's Organic Theater, that pioneer in the Off-Loop Theatre movement in the 1970s, is the exception, its history a chronicle of several resurrections following on periods of dormancy. The latest claimants to the legendary name have assembled, by way of introduction, an eclectic program of four plays, currently running in rotating repertory.

These plays include artistic director Alexander Gelman's adaptation of Herman Melville's short story, Bartleby The Scrivener ( source of the famous refusal 'I would prefer not to,' uttered by an insubordinate servant with cataclysmic results ) , and Eugene Ionesco's absurdist Man With Bags, along with the two that I attended the inaugural weekend: contemporary Japanese playwright Kunio Shimizu's The Dressing Room, and Gelman's adaptation of a Mark Twain story entitled The $30,000 Bequest.

Shimizu's 1977 existential drama recounts the observations of four actresses backstage during a production of Chekhov's The Seagull. One of them is the aging leading lady, still cast as the ingenuous Nina, despite being 'nearly 40.' Two others are 'prompters'—anonymous understudies positioned onstage near the principles to feed lines to the latter if such assistance should prove necessary. The fourth, however, is a former prompter who has chosen this night to pay her embarrassed colleagues a visit from the sanitarium to which she was committed for her violent behavior after cracking up on the job.

The discussion sparked by this real-world intrusion on the illusory world of theatre-as-metaphor incorporates speeches from familiar western dramas such as Shakespeare's Macbeth and lesser-known ( to American audiences ) Asian 'classics' like Miyoshi Juro's Slashed Senta, in addition to the aforementioned Chekhov's Seagull and Three Sisters. But while it's not implausible for actors-as-characters to discourse in an artificial manner, John K. Gillespie's stilted translation imposes an obtrusive formality on conversations meant to be casually colloquial, compounding the didacticism of Shimizu's philosophical ruminations on women searching for their 'eternal roles.'

Under Gelman's direction, however—and Terrence McClellan's mirror-and-veil scenic design—the quartet of Patricia Skarbinski, Meghan Shea, H. Lynn Kendziera and Jessica Webb embrace their potentially soapy personae with verve, compassion and humor ( especially Shimizu's satirical replications of 'pre-' and 'post-war' performance styles ) , their industry so transcending cultural differences that we share unreservedly in the elation of the moment when, literally, sisterhood triumphs over the threat of emotional isolation.

Mark Twain's cautionary fable presents far fewer obstacles, being the tale of a poor but contented husband and wife for whom notification of 'great expectations' promptly inspires obsessive fantasies approaching folie à deux. Gelman's adaptation is noteworthy for its retaining every word of the original text, even to the 'He said's and 'She replied's. But never for an instant does the stage picture, visual or aural, languish in torpor. Josh Anderson and Jessica Webb, as the naive couple—supported by utility player Joel Stanley Huff—sprint through their paces with agility, even during a sequence requiring them to swap repartee while kicking up their heels in a frenzied ragtime dance, choreographed by Deborah Robertson to the uncredited, but perfectly-selected, score of dixieland jazz.

Debut productions, like debut novels, have the advantage of leisurely gestation, and it remains to be seen if the re-born Organic Theater can sustain the high level of quality to be found in these 'calling-card' productions. For now, however, the outlook is optimistic for the welcome return of this venerated Chicago institution.


facebook twitter del.icio.us stumble upon digg google +1 reddit email




Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.

SCOTTISH PLAY SCOTT Theatrical puzzle pieces 2014-10-22
THEATER REVIEW Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street 2014-10-22
THEATER REVIEW Watch on the Rhine 2014-10-22
THEATER REVIEW The Submission 2014-10-22
THEATER REVIEW At Last: A Tribute to Etta James 2014-10-22
EXHIBITS 'David Bowie Is' wows patrons at the MCA 2014-10-22
Theater spotlight and Critics' Picks 2014-10-22
Laramie Project; Boy George; Library exhibit on marriage 2014-10-22
'By Women for Women' Oct. 25 at Joffrey Tower 2014-10-21
GayCo Productions turns 18, is Bearly Legal 2014-10-17
SCOTTISH PLAY SCOTT Gay bar drama 2014-10-15
THEATER REVIEW Danny Casolaro Died for You 2014-10-15
THEATER REVIEW The Wild Party 2014-10-15
THEATER REVIEW Witches Among Us 2014-10-15
THEATER REVIEW Take Me Out 2014-10-15
Theater Spotlight and Critics' Picks 2014-10-15
Cyndi Lauper talks about 'Kinky Boots' 2014-10-15
Upcoming shows: Laramie Project; Brickman; McComas, Kuper, Kennedy 2014-10-15
46th Jeff Awards celebrates excellence in Chicago theatre 2014-10-13
Terrence McNally Eclipse Theatre Company's featured playwright 2014-10-12
Robert Patrick: One of oldest gay playwrights on theater history 2014-10-08
THEATER REVIEW At Home at the Zoo 2014-10-08
THEATER REVIEW The World of Extreme Happiness 2014-10-08
THEATER REVIEW The Night Alive 2014-10-08
THEATER REVIEW Bethany 2014-10-08
Theater Spotlight and Critics' Picks 2014-10-08
NUNN ON ONE Gay actor from 'Nurse Jackie' shows theater chops 2014-10-08
Dustin Lance Black talks marriage rights, traveling and London 2014-10-08
Double date with Walt Whitman: Interview with playwright, actor 2014-10-07
Bennett and Gaga's CD; Melissa on marriage; Laverne in Vegas 2014-10-07
Laramie Project launches Northwestern's MainStage season 2014-10-06
October Mourning: A Song for Matthew Shepard to premiere 2014-10-03
THEATER REVIEW Season on the Line 2014-10-01
THEATER REVIEW Rest 2014-10-01
MUSICAL REVIEW A Kurt Weill Cabaret 2014-10-01
THEATER REVIEW Jane Eyre 2014-10-01
Octavia Spencer: 'Red' is the new black 2014-10-01
Theater spotlight; Critics picks 2014-09-30
La Roux Oct. 1; Big Freedia Oct. 10; By Women for Women Oct. 25 2014-09-30
THEATER REVIEW Another Bone 2014-09-29





Copyright © 2014 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
the online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 



 

Aon, KPMG hold pro-LGBT event
 
ELECTIONS 2014 Printable Election Guide Charts
 
Sophia Bush on 'Chicago P.D.' and being an LGBT ally
 
Gay in the Life: Justin Romme
 
Dining news: "Dinner Party" Oct. 27; Cicchetti closes
 
Windy City Times Current DownloadNightspots Current DownloadQueercast Current Download
Windy City Media Group BlogsJoin Our Email List!Donate Now








  News Index       Archives   About WCMG    Publications    Bars & Clubs     Calendar   Videos   Advertisers    OUT! Guide    Classifieds   AIDS @ 32
 Local | National | World | Politics | Obits | Profiles | Views | Entertainment | Theater | Dance | Music | Film | Art | Books | TV/Gossip
 Travel | History | Marriage | Youth | Trans | Lesbian | Celebrations | Food | Nightlife | Sports | Health | Real Estate | Autos | Pets | Crime



About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video      News Videos      Nightspots Videos      Entertainment Videos      Queercast Videos      Comedy Videos     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group produces Windy City Queercast, & publishes Windy City Times,
The Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community,
Nightspots, Out! Resource Guide, and Identity.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.