Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2015-04-29
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage


  WINDY CITY TIMES

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.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

The Bloodhound Law 2015-04-29
Theater Spotlight and Critics' Picks 2015-04-29
Theater news: 'East of Eden' cast; Wonka Ball raises $60K 2015-04-29
THEATER REVIEW A Funny Thing Happened... 2015-04-29
SCOTTISH PLAY SCOTT The scene in Texas 2015-04-29
THEATER REVIEW Sounds So Sweet 2015-04-29
THEATER REVIEW Lips Together, Teeth Apart 2015-04-29
NUNN ON ONE: THEATER Raul Castillo: From 'Lampshade' to 'Looking' 2015-04-29
NUNN ON ONE: MUSIC Breaking it down with singer-activist Lila Downs 2015-04-29
Gender Fusions explores the 'Galaxy' 2015-04-28
Noel Coward's Design for Living part of Pride Films & Plays season 2015-04-28
42nd Annual Non-Equity Jeff Awards announces 118 nominations 2015-04-24
SCOTTISH PLAY SCOTT 'Look'-ing at Laura Jacqmin's production 2015-04-22
THEATER REVIEW Carousel 2015-04-22
THEATER REVIEW The Grown-Up 2015-04-22
THEATER REVIEW Between You, Me and the Lampshade 2015-04-22
THEATER REVIEW Billy Elliot 2015-04-22
Theater Spotlight and Critics' Picks 2015-04-22
The Bitchfest Club: A New Musical 2015-04-21
THEATER REVIEW The Herd 2015-04-21
Steppenwolf Theatre ensemble members reunite for new season 2015-04-20
THEATER REVIEW The Bird Feeder Doesn't Know 2015-04-15
SCOTTISH PLAY SCOTT Eclipse focuses on McNally 2015-04-15
Upcoming: Steppenwolf gala; Sculpture exhibit 2015-04-15
THEATER REVIEW An Issue of Blood: An Historical Parable 2015-04-15
THEATER REVIEW Murder Ballad 2015-04-15
THEATER REVIEW The Upstairs Concierge 2015-04-15
THEATER Denis O'Hare and Lisa Peterson talk 'The Good Book' 2015-04-15
NUNN ON ONE Cody Jamison Strand plays it by the 'Book' 2015-04-15
Critics' Picks and Theater Spotlight: Down the Moonlit Path 2015-04-14
Steppenwolf, About Face host festive events 2015-04-14
Writers Theatre presents "Doubt: A Parable" 2015-04-14
THEATER REVIEW The Good Book 2015-04-08
THEATER REVIEW Travesties 2015-04-08
THEATER REVIEW Graveyard of Empires 2015-04-08
COMEDY Joel McHale talks Indiana, working out 2015-04-07
THEATER REVIEW Title and Deed 2015-04-07
Theater spotlight: Highballers; Critics' Picks 2015-04-07
Blue and view: Wade Elkins part of famed troupe 2015-04-07
Nationally known comics to celebrate progressive comedians 2015-04-07
 



Copyright © 2015 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
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 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.