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 2015-09-02
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

Sponsor

  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

THEATER REVIEW Conjoined anew 2015-09-02
THEATER REVIEW The Jacksonian 2015-09-02
THEATER REVIEW After Miss Julie 2015-09-02
THEATER REVIEW The Price 2015-09-02
THEATER REVIEW October Sky 2015-09-02
Theater Spotlight and Critics' Picks 2015-09-02
Play to mark 10th anniv. of Katrina 2015-09-02
Chicago Opera Theater gets largest single gift 2015-09-02
Theater, now on stage and soon to come 2015-09-01
Broadway in Chicago turns 15 in the park 2015-08-28
SCOTTISH PLAY SCOTT Fringe options 2015-08-26
THEATER REVIEW Patchwork Drifter 2015-08-26
THEATER REVIEW Chicago's Role in the Crime of the Century 2015-08-26
Upcoming: Fashion Fest; 'Downton' exhibit; Jeff Awards; Haymarket reading 2015-08-26
Upcoming: Sondheim honored; Play marks 10th Katrina anniversary 2015-08-26
Celebrate with caution 2015-08-25
Bryan Safi has it made in the 'Shade' 2015-08-25
Theater Spotlight on Bad Jews; Critics' Picks 2015-08-25
THEATER REVIEW The Rise and Fall of Little Voice 2015-08-25
THEATER REVIEW Things You Shouldn't Say Past Midnight 2015-08-25
Theater in Chicago: Opening soon and now on stage 2015-08-25
Poet Kit Yan performs Queer Heartache at Chicago Fringe 2015-08-21
Jeff Awards Equity nominations honor 2014-2015 productions 2015-08-21
The Chicago Fringe Festival announce times, places 2015-08-19
SCOTTISH PLAY SCOTT SNL dreams 2015-08-19
THEATER REVIEW Kurios: Cabinet of Curiosities 2015-08-19
THEATER REVIEW The Dueling Gentlemen 2015-08-19
THEATER REVIEW The History of Alcohol in Chicago: A Drinker's Guide 2015-08-19
Theater Spotlight, Critics' Picks 2015-08-19
Upcoming: Cho to marry couples; Chicago Fashion Fest; Horror-film fest 2015-08-18
THEATER REVIEW Art 2015-08-18
Theater in Chicago: Now on stage and opening soon 2015-08-18
Nightspots calendar: The Big To Do 2015-08-12
Shakespeare in the Parks thru Aug. 16 2015-08-12
THEATER REVIEW Stanley in the Name of Love 2015-08-12
THEATER REVIEW We Gotta Bingo! 2015-08-12
THEATER REVIEW Zelda at the Oasis 2015-08-12
OUTspoken! marks one year with rousing stories 2015-08-12
THEATER REVIEW The Boy from Oz 2015-08-12
Theater spotlight and Critics' Picks 2015-08-12
 



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

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.