Critics theater picks for 6/17-6/19

June 16, 2011

Laura Molzahn

Tennessee Williams is ripe—some might say overripe—for dance exploration. Which is exactly what Paula Frasz of DanszLoop/Chicago has been doing, off and on, for the last several years at the Provincetown Tennessee Williams Festival. Her collaboration with PJ Paparelli of American Theater Company was so successful last fall that they’ve decided to stage their three short plays/dances at ATC next spring. You can see two of the dances this weekend at Stage 773 in an evening “celebrating the power of movement influenced by the written word.” Frasz’s choreographed “prequel” to Williams’ The Escape, about chain-gang convicts, is set to work chants and the sounds of “dogs, running, water, and gunfire,” she says. Her duet based on Summer at the Lakeis also about release, this time—surprise!—from a neurotic mother-son relationship.

Inside/Out, a choreographic showcase by some 16 Hubbard Street and Hubbard Street 2 dancers, is rumored to feature one performer (male) in the nude. Even without that incentive, this freewheeling display by some of the city’s best dancers is worth checking out. 

Jonathan Abarbanel

Chicago's unofficial David Henry Hwang festival kicks off Saturday (June 18) with Yellow Face, a satiric self-identity comedy, at Silk Road Theatre Project, directed by Goodman Theatre associate producer Steve Scott. Hwang, best know for his play M. Butterfly, arguably is the nation's best-known Asian-American author (although Chicagoans soon will come to know playwright Chay Yew as well, now that he's the new Victory Gardens Theater artistic director--but I digress). Hwang will have three plays produced here over the summer, with the Goodman Theatre following June 27 with the world premiere of Chinglish and the small Halcyon Theatre Company staging an early Hwang work, Family Devotions, in August. Yellow Face runs through July 17.

About Face Theatre Company, which fought back from the brink of extinction two years ago and has slowly rebuilt its producing capacity, presents the world premiere of The Homosexuals, a serio-comic contemporary coming-of-age story by Philip Dawkins. The cast of seven features four About Face artistic associates and three guest artists, all under the direction of artistic director Bonnie Metzgar, who inherited a fiscal mess when she arrived three years ago and refused to let it stop her. Performed at the Victory Gardens Richard Christiansen Theater, The Homosexuals opens Sunday (June 19) and runs through July 24.