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 2014-09-17
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: THEATER Josh Young: 'Grace' under pressure NUNN ON ONE: THEATER Josh Young: 'Grace' under pressure
This October, Chicagoans are being treated to another pre-Broadway engagement—this time with ...

Browse Gay News Index   Browse Gay News Archives
  Windy City Times    Download PDF Issue

The Sandman
THEATER REVIEW
by Jonathan Abarbanel, Windy City Times
2012-06-13

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


Playwright: Bob Fisher after E.T.A Hoffman. At: Oracle Productions, 3809 N. Broadway. Tickets: 252- 220-0269; www.oracletheatre.org; FREE (but reserve). Runs through: June 30

Three of the four actors in The Sandman take multiple roles and all of them manipulate doll puppets (designed by Tracy Otwell), demonstrating their mastery of the actor's "plastique" (voice, movement, expressiveness)—and so they must be if the audience is to make any sense of this complicated and cloudy 85-minute version of E.T.A. Hoffman's 1816 short story. Under director Max Truax, they nimbly switch characters by stooping shoulders, twitching hands, stiffening limbs or turning up a coat collar, accented by the expressionistic shadows of Karen Thompson's lighting.

Even so, it's difficult to follow Bob Fisher's adaptation, in part because it's really two stories that overlap through one character, Nathaniel, presumably an early 19th-century German university student. (Fisher's text doesn't actually specify.) Nathaniel was a boy when his father died under mysterious circumstances after visits by Coppelius, a sinister figure whom Nathaniel equates with the Sandman, not our own benevolent bringer of dreams but a creature who steals children's eyes to feed his offspring on the moon.

When college-age Nathaniel is approached by Coppola—a maker of barometers, lenses and telescopes (through which one can see the moon)—Nathaniel thinks he is Coppelius and it drives him mad, quite literally. In Story Two, Nathaniel's madness doubles when he falls in love with the daughter of a professor. Olympia, a doll-like young woman with a secret of her own, threatens Nathaniel's relationship with his longtime fiancée and her brother, Lothario, his only true friend. The two story threads merge only in a shocking conclusion, which finally brings a degree of clarity to things.

However, it's not a sufficient degree of clarity to justify the journey during which Hoffman grapples with some of his favorite physical and metaphysical devices such as doppelgangers, robotics, pseudo-science and the fevered imagination. Hoffman frames the story with letters written after the fact by Lothario—a part Fisher mostly eliminates. Instead, he splits the narration between Nathaniel and Lothario, with the actor playing Lothario doubling as a younger Nathaniel as the narrative shifts back and forth in time. It's too fragmented for me, especially as Fisher emphasizes the faux mysticism of the work (such as never clearly explaining that what Nathaniel buys from Coppola is a little telescope and not an enchantment).

Perhaps Fisher means to show us the warped state of Nathaniel's mind, but to make that work he needs to set Nate up as normal first, and gradually have us enter madness with him, not outside him. As it is, so many elements of fact and character are elusive—even though stylishly elusive—that one gives up caring. Not many have the patience to peel the layers of an onion.


facebook twitter pin it 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.

The Gay Divorce 2.0 in staged reading at Mary's Attic 2014-09-22
About Face Theatre presents Black and Tan Supper Club 2014-09-17
FALL THEATER SPECIAL Cornucopia of dance headed Chicago's way 2014-09-17
The show must go on: A season of musicals and operas is coming 2014-09-17
DOUBLE REVIEW Isaac's Eye; Death Tax 2014-09-17
THEATER REVIEW The Midnight City 2014-09-17
Miracles in the Fall 2014-09-17
Shakespeare's Anthony and Cleopatra: UNDONE 2014-09-17
Autumn classics and revivals and how to tell the difference 2014-09-17
FALL THEATER SPECIAL Autumn premieres 2014-09-17
NUNN ON ONE: THEATER Ryan Czerwonko's 'Dead' reckoning 2014-09-17
NUNN ON ONE: THEATER Josh Young: 'Grace' under pressure 2014-09-17
Theater spotlight and Critics' Picks 2014-09-17
THEATER NEWS 2014-09-17
October Mourning: A Song for Matthew Shepard on stage Oct. 9 2014-09-11
Harris Theater, Lyric Opera partner for Beyond the Aria series 2014-09-10
About Face Theatre presents Black and Tan Supper Club 2014-09-10
Illinois Humanities Council event focuses on drag 2014-09-10
THEATER REVIEW Ecstasy 2014-09-09
THEATER REVIEW The Whaleship Essex 2014-09-09
THEATER REVIEW The Coward 2014-09-09
THEATER REVIEW The Game's Afoot 2014-09-09
Theater spotlight and Critics' Picks 2014-09-09
Chita Rivera Moraine Valley Community College Sept. 27 2014-09-05
SCOTTISH PLAY SCOTT Almodovar adaptation 2014-09-03
THEATER REVIEW The Yellow Wallpaper 2014-09-03
THEATER REVIEW Reasons to Be Happy 2014-09-03
THEATER REVIEW The Arsonists 2014-09-03
THEATER REVIEW Methtacular! 2014-09-03
John Leguizamo 'Klowns' around, talks 'To Wong Foo' 2014-09-03
THEATER REVIEW My Name Is Asher Lev 2014-09-03
CRITICS' PICKS and THEATER SPOTLIGHT: Miracles in the Fall 2014-09-03
Hytes wins Miss Continental title 2014-09-02
Musical theater incubator launches with Chicago-native/Broadway stars 2014-08-27
Broadway in Chicago puts on free summer show 2014-08-27
'Fringe' festival features diversity of shows, performers 2014-08-27
THEATER REVIEW On the Town 2014-08-27
THEATER REVIEW Stupid F*kg Bird 2014-08-27
THEATER REVIEW Clemente: The Legend of 21 2014-08-27
CRITICS' PICKS 2014-08-27





Copyright © 2014 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.

 

 

 



 

Trans* woman claims self-defense in case
 
REELING FILM FESTIVAL Max Adler of 'Glee' runs amok in Saugatuck
 
Veterans Health Administration opens doors to LGBT vets
 
Mother of Eisha Love: Heartbreak and courage
 
Chicago Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame selects next inductees
 
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.