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 2019-12-11
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

THEATER REVIEW Palace of the Occult
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Mary Shen Barnidge
2015-12-01

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Playwright: Neil Tobin. At: Eclectic Full Contact Theatre at Prop Thtr, 3502 N. Elston Ave. Tickets: 800-838-3006; www.palaceoftheoccult.com; $25-$35. Runs through: Dec. 20

It is widely accepted that Hitler was a disciple of certain esoteric practices—astrology, numerology, spiritualism et al.—but scholars have been curiously silent on the contribution of Weimar Republic superstar Erik Jan Hanussen in introducing the Third Reich's mass murderer to the world of paranormal science. After all, how would the histories—and the victors who author them—explain Adolf's high-profile friendship with a Moravian Jew?

The clairvoyant/charlatan, born Herschmann Chaim Steinschneider, acquired his Danish name during his youthful career with the circus, where he discovered his talent for charismatic deception. As his reputation grew—assisted by lavish self-promotion—over the years immediately following World War I, so did his fortune. The economic depression of 1931 expanded his clientele of desperate souls seeking comfort in cult religions, rendering him a celebrity of rock-star proportions. The young rebels of the Nationalist Socialist Party, in particular, welcomed the attention of the wealthy Berlin luminary who lent them money, invited them to sumptuous parties attended by glamorous movie stars and even coached their leader in public speaking.

Neil Tobin sets his play on the opening of Hanussen's "Palace of the Occult"—a private club and "laboratory" incorporating artifacts from his travels among sorcerers, shamans and mystics. After welcoming us, our host regales us with tales of his adventures, accompanied by re-enactments of his famous stage illusions—the latter assisted by his "guests" in the audience who are rewarded with champagne for their service. The second act reproduces the seance held on that fatal night, when Hanussen's trance led him to proclaim the torching of the government Reichstag, the Nazi rise to power in the subsequent hysteria and the suffering it would inflict upon others—prophesy sufficiently discomforting to his swastika-wearing homeys to guarantee his mob-style execution.

Such classic legerdemain as the "Telepathic Mail" and the "Hypnotic Strongwoman" stunts, along with the genuine fakir artistry required to jab long needles through your own flesh, are not skills an actor can be expected to learn in a few weeks of rehearsal. Fortunately, Tobin is, himself, a magician of no small renown, chiefly remembered for his long-running "Supernatural Chicago" show from 2004 through 2014.

For this Eclectic Theatre production, under David Belew's unhurried direction, Tobin inhabits the persona of the seductively charming Hanussen with an oily confidence unimpaired by sparse attendance on a snowy first night. Even when the intimacy of the rented quarters at Prop Thtr threaten to reveal the secret behind the tricks, the fascinating true story related by the trickster is enough to keep us spellbound.


facebook twitter pin it 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.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

Renee Fleming in rehearsal with Lyric Opera for The Light in the Piazza 2019-12-11 - CHICAGO ( December 11, 2019 )—Rehearsals are underway for Scenario Two's presentation of the beloved Tony Award-winning musical The Light in the Piazza ...


Gay News

THEATER REVIEW A Xmas Cuento Remix­­ 2019-12-11 - By: Maya Malan-Gonzalez At: 16th Street Theater, 6420 16th St., Berwyn Tickets: 708-795-6704 or 16thStreetTheater.org; $22-$32. Runs through: Dec. 29 You've ...


Gay News

Critics' Picks 2019-12-11 - The Tall Boy, Stage 773, through Dec. 15—The celebrated talent behind this touring show ( Tandy Cronyn, Kay Boyle, Simon Bent ) create ...


Gay News

Five Worth Finding: Gay spy movie, Santa Suite and more 2019-12-11 - —London Spy: In this British-American series that originally aired in 2015, devil-may-care Danny ( played by a fantastic Ben Whishaw ) meets the ...


Gay News

'Nat King Cole' holiday show Dec. 16-17 2019-12-10 - Writers Theatre, in partnership with Artists Lounge Live, will present a limited engagement of An Unforgettable Nat King Cole Christmas, starring Evan Tyrone ...


Gay News

10th anniversary of 'The Nutcracker' features gay dads 2019-12-10 - The House Theatre of Chicago will celebrate the 10th anniversary of the annual hit production The Nutcracker—an all-original, ballet-free and family-friendly production playing ...


Gay News

THEATER REVIEW The Land of Forgotten Toys 2019-12-10 - Authors: Music by Dylan MarcAurele; book and lyrics by Jaclyn Enchin and Jennifer Enchin, based on a story by Larry Little At: The ...


Gay News

THEATER REVIEW The Tall Boy 2019-12-07 - Playwright: Simon Bent At: Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont Ave. Tickets: Stage773.com and 773-327-5252; $35-$39. Runs through: Dec. 15 The absence ...


Gay News

THEATER REVIEW Cold Town/Hotline: A Chicago Holiday Story 2019-12-07 - Playwright: Eli Newell At: Raven Theatre, 6157 N. Clark St. Tickets: 773-338-2177, or RavenTheatre.com; $25-$30. Runs through: Dec. 22 Cold Town/Hotline: ...


Gay News

THEATER REVIEW The White Plague 2019-12-07 - Playwright: Karel Capek, translated by Peter Majer and Cathy Porter At: Trap Door Theatre, 1655 W. Cortland Ave. Tickets: 773-384-0494; TrapDoorTheatre.com; $20-$25 ( ...


 



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.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor


 



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.