Jonathan and Kelly review Mary-Arrchie’s production of Hellish Half-Light, half a dozen short plays by Samuel Beckett. J. places Beckett in the context of French postwar absurdism, while K. actually talks about the plays. Existential despair abounds.
But as long as life goes on, why not enliven it with an e-mail subscription to the Dueling Critics? Look to your right and slightly down and you’ll see the “Subscribe” button; punch it and you’ll never miss a minute of our badinage, repartee and other French words apropos.
The cast of The Qualms, written by ensemble member Bruce Norris and directed by Pam MacKinnon. Casting includes ensemble member Kate Arrington with Owais Ahmed, Karen Aldridge, Diane Davis, Kirsten Fitzgerald, Keith Kupferer, David Pasquesi, Paul Oakley Stovall and Greg Stuhr. (Photo by Michael Brosilow.)
Jonathan and Kelly strongly disagree about the new Steppenwolf show: J. approves, while K. has Qualms. Also: K recommends Men Should Weep at Griffin: nothing like a 1940s Scottish melodrama to liven up your summer!
Door County, downstate and northwest-ish Indiana have a new competitor in the free-for-all which constitutes summer theater in the Chicago area: the Three Oaks Festival, which will set up shop in several locations around what real-estate salesmen call ‘Harbor Country’—southwest Michigan in the vicinity of New Buffalo. Its season consists of transplants from the past year in Chicago, including Blair Thomas & Co.’s A Piano with Three Tales; Dennis Watkins’ The Magic Parlour; a staged reading of TimeLine Theatre’s The Normal Heart; David Lutken in Woody Sez: The Life & Music of Woody Guthrie; Jackalope Theatre’s Exit Strategy; and Seanachaí Theatre Company’s Hughie.
Also presenting erstwhile Chicago shows you wish you hadn’t missed, and also in peripatetic mode, is the venerable Theater on the Lake, which continues to produce even as the Park District renovates its home space. (That’s the meaning of the discouraging “See you next year!” sign in front of the Fullerton facility—presumably that’s the same next year during which the Cubs will win the pennant.) On tap: Stage Left’s A Day in the Death of Joe Egg, July 9-13 and Theo Ubique’s A Cole Porter Songbook, July 23-27, both at Berger Park, 6205 North Sheridan Road; the Neo-Futurists’ Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind, July 30-August 3 at the Washington Park Refectory, 5531 S. Russell Dr.; and Strawdog’s Great Expectations, August 6-10 back up at Berger Park.
Things may be dysfunctional in the writers’ room, as conceived by Neil Simon in Laughter on the 23rd Floor (upper photo, courtesy of Eclectic Full Contact Theatre), but the world is downright dystopian in the world premiere of Tyrant, by Kathleen Akerly (lower photo, courtesy of Sideshow Theatre). The DC saw different shows this week and offer their opinions.