Sunday, May 28, 2006

The girl theatre blogger fails to post for a while

Bad non-poster, bad, bad.

Kittens, I'm off to workshop my play, Erratica, in Muncie, Indiana. Check it out here:,1361,142828-10675-17824,00.html and here,,27114--,00.html (Reina afficianados will be amused to note that I'm once again tangling with that unconscionable title-stealer, Wendy Macleod.) Forgive the lack of new reviews for next week.

But this week? Time to play our favorite game: catch-up. Last Saturday I took in Spamalot and ehhhhhhhh. Pleasant enough, but something made me uneasy about the way the audience roared in anticipation of its favorite bits from the movie. Wouldn't you have more fun doing that at home with your friends? Also, the rampant silliness of the staging was cute, but would have been much cuter on a millionth of the budget with thirty people in the audience. My snobbery again? Perhaps, but there's just something about invention in response to a low budget that flicks my Bic. I mean, that's part of what made the coconuts so great in the movie version- who can afford horses?

I caught a Thursday matinee of the Clean House at the Goodman with my friend Liz. I enjoyed it, but I don't really get all the fuss. Number one sin for me: not funny enough. The writing had a certain bland sitcomishness at times that COULD have been intentional, but I wasn't sure to what effect.

And of course, best for last. "The Boy Detective Fails," now playing at the Viaduct, is lovely. I hearted it with all my heart. The little red curtain, the witty, dingy sets, the teal harpsichord. It had a bit of Wes Anderson aesthetic going on, which is a new trick for the House Theatre and very pretty. And Shawn [smashes the keyboard randomly] was precious in the title role. So earnest! I was right there emotionally, and I will have that boxed, please.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Put about the word...

Polyrhythmic is looking for witty, fabulous, outrageous women to perform in the Female Feature, a benefit for the Viola Project at Trace, June 6th. They'll have their regular open mike at 10:30, but the feature at 11:30 will be all-girl, all the time. We want poets, stick balancers, singers, dancers, magicians, fire eaters (ok, not fire eaters, they're against code)....any five minute solo performance done by a woman. This is a great chance to try out your act while supporting Chicago's best Shakespeare workshop for girls!

Contact me at wayoffloop at gmail dot com, and I'll put you in touch with the appropriate people.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

I don't believe in astrology...

I believe even less in joke astrology. But my horoscope in this week's Onion gave me chills.

Libra September 23 - October 23
Disappointment will be yours this week when what you first believe to be the play's curtain call turns out to be just Act 1, Scene 2.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Invasion of your MOM

This week: Invasion of the Minnesota Normals, WNEP at the Apollo Studio- a play about the total absurdity of those personality tests they use in corporate America. It was eeeeenteresting, you know. Didn't love it, didn't hate it. A slow start, some moments of intense hilarity, weirdness and bite, and rather a pat ending. They had good performers, but some of them were a great deal subtler than others. Not to say better, but there was a style disconnect between some actors that kept the play from cohering. Judicious cuts and some actor adjustments could really improve it.

My first time in the dear, homey little Apollo studio. So cozy! So neat! Love the little corner bar!

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Does she live?

Adapting something like "The Old Curiosity shop," a serial novel by someone who got paid per word, is no easy trick. I just got back from the Lookingglass theatre's swing at it, which was graceful and energetic and beautifully staged (of course!) By and large, the actors had the cartoonish vitality of the classic Dickensian sorts, especially their Quilp, whose posture was nothing short of uncanny. He did the whole part in a constant plie, all the more impressive since his spidery thighs look to be nothing but bone. The knees on that man! Fair warning: It's Dickens at his most raucously sentimental, but even cynics will have a lot to laugh at. Also should be a great show for kids who dig Lemony Snicket. Ah, torturing children. Creating great literature for young and old since the Greeks.

Also, before it closes, try to make time for "Dustbowl Gothic" at the Building Stage. Why? First, it's free- not just for me, but for everybody. Second, it is beautiful beautiful beautiful, category stark. (I mean to say, starkly beautiful.) It's also quite funny, with some great actors, and some pretty music. It's a little sketchy on plot and sense, but it's just coup de theatre after coup de theatre.