The House Theatre of Chicago roles out a slightly-gothic world premiere by Kara Davidson, directed by Shade Murray and with fascinating puppets by Jesse Mooney-Bullock. If you thought P&J stood for peanut butter and jelly, you’d better think again. Davidson’s historical research is impeccable, with every character in the play–human and puppet–rooted in the actual history of Punch and Judy shows in England. Kelly and Jonathan are fascinated!
The critics enthuse about extraordinary acting by Mary Ann Thebus and Kate Fry in the final production at Writers’ ancestral home at the back of the bookstore, and then talk about all the bricks-and-mortar action in the theater community: new homes not only for Writers but for Northlight, TimeLine, Griffin.
It’s not the Hitchcock film but does it work on its own Daphne DuMaurier Conor McPherson terms? Listen to the critics squawk. Plus, K. recommends Liberty City at Eta Creative Arts, a tour de force by a young actress.
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!
Griffin Theatre Company’s Chicago premiere of MEN SHOULD WEEP by Ena Lamont Stewart, directed by Robin Witt. Photo by Michael Brosilow.
From the rash of openings, you wouldn’t think it was the middle of July. Jonathan and I dueled over Brigadoon on WDCB this past Sunday, and will square off over The Qualms on our Friday podcast. I’ve seen three or five other pieces, but only one worth drawing attention to:
Men Should Weep, receiving its Chicago premiere at Griffin Theatre, is a fine if really depressing play from the 1940s set in the Glasgow slums. Notwithstanding the Scottish setting, it’s indistinguishable from the stereotyped Irish play, complete with infuriated women, drunken useless men, poverty, domestic violence–and, in this case, tuberculosis and rickets. Director Robin Witt secures fine performances from her cast and Ena Lamont Stewart’s play is an absorbing proto-feminist piece. It’s hardly light summer fare, though, so wait to see it til the next time it rains. That should be any minute now. Griffin is performing at the Raven Theatre complex on North Clark Street at the Edgewater-Rogers Park border while it continues to build out its permanent home in an abandoned firehouse. This production demonstrates once again how worthy the troupe is of a good home.