Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2019-04-10
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage



THEATER REVIEW Belladonna Luna Sonata
by Mary Shen Barnidge

facebook twitter google +1 reddit email

Playwright: Robert Stewart. At: The Plagiarists at the Frontier, 1106 W. Thorndale Ave. Tickets: 773-599-9490;; $15. Runs through: Nov. 21

Precisely one hundred years ago, Alexander Scriabin died, along with the notoriety afforded him as an adherent of the Symbolist art movement. A musical prodigy, he based his melodic theories in synesthesia—the cross-sensory linking of sounds and colors—coupled with theosophical spiritualism. His unfinished magnum opus, titled "Mysterium," was conceived as an interactive orchestral piece to be played at the foot of the Himalayan mountains and featuring, as its encore, the Rapture-like destruction of the entire world.

This controversial genius constitutes the most likely prototype for Maestro Signeretti, the self-styled hero of Robert Stewart's play, whose fame rests on his incorporation of spontaneous phenomena into his concerts. "Hurling Coloratura," for example, called for a stone to be catapulted into the audience, the random target's cry of pain then serving to enhance the harmony. One night, the projectile strikes a young woman who consents to continue in her concussive role, and later, to be his wife. After repeated head injuries force her retirement, her husband's requiem, the "Wilted Gilded Glissando Sonata" leads to his courtship and subsequent rejection by a wealthy socialite. This rebuff spurs him to embark on "Belladonna Luna Sonata"—a composition whose premiere performance in the Swiss Alps upon an organ built into the rock face is meant to trigger subterranean tremors precipitating widespread cataclysm leaving the earth blissfully purified of all living creatures.

Signeretti relates these events from the sanctuary of his studio, where he broods over the never-identified saboteur of his Armageddon. His retreat's location is unclear, since the view through the picture-window reveals a variety of scenery veering between subarctic foliage and tropical jungles. Likewise disorienting is our raconteur's displaying oversized prosthetic ears and likewise exaggerated eyebrows and beard modeled on the elvish king of German folklore, while his valet's Nordic-complexion exhibits African facial scars and the gardener chosen to hear these memoirs recalls the Norwegian boy-trickster Peer Gynt.

Playgoers may find themselves recalling also Beckett, Ionesco, the dark humor of Brother Theodore ( "I began my life at an early age" ) and the Dadaist aesthetic reflected in "eavesdropping equipment" fashioned from a stethoscope and plastic cup, or a stick-puppet toucan sent to annoy trespassers. Whether we comprehend Stewart's purpose at first sight, however, is less important to the success of this Plagiarists production than the comforting assurance that its ensemble, led by Nick Freed as the obsessed Signeretti, appears to know their way around its iconographic enigma. In a universe where music can be turned into WMDs, faith in one's guides is essential.

facebook twitter 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.


Gay News

THEATER REVIEW Cambodian Rock Band 2019-04-15 - Playwright: Lauren Yee At: Victory Gardens Theater, 2433 N. Lincoln Ave. Tickets: 773-781-3000;; $32-$65. Runs through: May 5 Cambodian Rock ...

Gay News

THEATER REVIEW Lottery Day 2019-04-14 - Playwright: Ike Holter At: Goodman Theatre, 170 N. Dearborn St. Tickets: Runs through: April 28 "If you want to ...

Gay News

Millennium Park Summer Films to celebrate Year of Chicago Theatre 2019-04-12 - The Millennium Park Summer Film Series will offer a lineup of popular classic and recent movie selections on Tuesdays, June 4 through August ...

Gay News

Downton's McGovern and Fellowes reunite for "The Chaperone" 2019-04-12 - In 1922, Wichita, Kansas, native Louise Brooks left her home to study modern dance at the Denishawn School in New York City. Just ...

Gay News

THEATER REVIEW Utility 2019-04-12 - Playwright: Emily Schwend At: Interrobang Theatre Project at Rivendell Theatre, 5779 N. Ridge Ave. Tickets: or 312-219-4140; $32. Runs through: May 4 ...

Gay News

'Night of Noise' variety show April 14 2019-04-11 - The Illinois Safe Schools Alliance will be "breaking" the Day of Silence with its third annual variety show, "Night of Noise: Onward and ...

Gay News

THEATER REVIEW Afterglow 2019-04-10 - Playwright: S. Asher Gelman At: Buena Theater, 4147 N. Broadway . Tickets: $25-$40;, or 866-811-4111 or 773-857-0222. Runs through: May 5 ...

Gay News

Spotlight 2019-04-10 - We've all said it: "The world would be a better place if there were more people like me!" Oh? Really? How many identical ...

Gay News

Critics' Picks 2019-04-10 - Herland, Redtwist Theatre, through April 14—Empowered by Bruce Springsteen anthems, four women of diverse ages, intents and erotic impulses vow to determine their ...

Gay News

THEATER REVIEW Pinocchio 2019-04-08 - Playwrights: Joseph Steakley and Ben Loppries At: House Theatre of Chicago at Chopin Theatre, 1543 W. Division St. Tickets: 773-769-3832;; $30-$50. Runs ...


Copyright © 2019 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our 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.







About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

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 publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.