Windy City Media Group Frontpage News Home
CELEBRATING 29+ YEARS OF Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender NEWS

Search Gay News Articles
Advanced Search
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2015-03-25
Download Issue
  News Index   About WCMG    Publications    Bars & Clubs     Calendar   Videos   Advertisers    OUT! Guide    Classifieds     AIDS @ 32       Marriage
 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

SAVOR Taus Authentic Food & Drink SAVOR
Taus Authentic
Food & Drink
Housed in the former Prasino space, Taus Authentic Food & Drink (1846 ...

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 Travis Turner heads 'Upstairs' 2015-03-25
THEATER REVIEW Two Trains Running 2015-03-25
THEATER REVIEW The Hammer Trinity 2015-03-25
THEATER REVIEW Picture Imperfect 2015-03-25
THEATER REVIEW The Mecca Tales 2015-03-25
Theater Spotlight, Critics' Picks 2015-03-25
Rivendell Theatre honors Willa Taylor, marks 20 years 2015-03-19
SPRING THEATER PREVIEW The long and short of it: Classics and near-classics 2015-03-18
THEATER REVIEW First Wives Club: The Musical 2015-03-18
THEATER REVIEW 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea 2015-03-18
THEATER REVIEW The Full Monty 2015-03-18
THEATER REVIEW Garage Rep 2015 2015-03-18
Theater Spotlight, Critics' Picks 2015-03-18
SPRING THEATER PREVIEW: Bring on the premieres! 2015-03-18
SPRING THEATER PREVIEW: LGBTQ works for the spring 2015-03-18
Upcoming: Willa Taylor honors; GayCo event; Sculpture exhibit 2015-03-18
Entertainment: Madonna; Matt Bomer; Billie Jean film; Josh Groban 2015-03-17
Out Chicago live from Boystown March 22 2015-03-17
Kinsey Sicks campaign on Kickstarter funds trip to Scotland's "Fringe" 2015-03-17
About Face Theatre celebrates 19th year at Wonka Ball: Worhol 2015-03-12
THEATER REVIEW The Diary of Anne Frank 2015-03-11
THEATER REVIEW One Came Home 2015-03-11
THEATER REVIEW The Royal Society of Antarctica 2015-03-11
THEATER REVIEW Titus Andronicus 2015-03-11
Theater Spotlight; Critics' Picks 2015-03-11
NUNN ON ONE: THEATER Grant James Varjas pens gay-bar drama 2015-03-11
NBCUniversal partners with Second City 2015-03-11
THEATER REVIEW Fit to be Tied 2015-03-10
Windy City Gay Idol looks back on twelve years 2015-03-06
SCOTTISH PLAY SCOTT Garage activism 2015-03-04
THEATER REVIEW The Glass Protege 2015-03-04
THEATER REVIEW The Sweeter Option 2015-03-04
THEATER REVIEW Four 2015-03-04
DOUBLE REVIEW Dunsinane; Macbeth 2015-03-04
Theater Spotlight and Critics' Picks 2015-03-04
The (drag) queen's speech: Talking with Terence Boyle 2015-03-03
NUNN ON ONE: MAGIC Jeff Hobson bringing flamboyant persona to Chicago 2015-03-03
THEATER REVIEW The Trial of Moses Fleetwood Walker 2015-02-25
THEATER REVIEW Marie Antoinette 2015-02-25
THEATER REVIEW The Other Place 2015-02-25





Copyright © 2015 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.

 

 

 



 

ALMA names recipients of Young Latino Leaders for Creating Change scholarship
 
NUNN ON ONE: TELEVISION Taryn Manning dishes on new music, 'Orange Is the New Black'
 
PASSAGES Carl Sharp
 
Ald. Emma Mitts videotaped making anti-LGBT comments
 
New BYC location among Howard Brown meeting announcements
 
Windy City Times Current DownloadNightspots Current DownloadQueercast Current Download
Windy City Media Group BlogsJoin Our Email List!Donate Now








  News Index   About WCMG    Publications    Bars & Clubs     Calendar   Videos   Advertisers    OUT! Guide    Classifieds     AIDS @ 32       Marriage
 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     
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.