Critics theater picks 7/22-7/24

July 21, 2011

Kelly Kleiman

So you have two choices: in, or out.  Being an air-conditioning girl myself, I'm planning to see Collaboraction's 1001 when it re-opens at the Flatiron Building next week (in fact, the Dueling Critics will debate the re-mount); but if you can't wait, it's at Theatre on the Lake this weekend. A word of warning--about the venue, not the show--ToL isn't air-conditioned and if there's any set at all (not always a given with Collaboraction) it prevents the lake breeze from getting through.  Last weekend's ToL was a study in suffering for one's art, as the actors mopped their taped-on microphones constantly lest they short out from sweat, meanwhile struggling to give performances both nuanced and high-energy. (Not merely struggling: succeeding.) The audience was luckier: ToL provides us with fans.

Another in-or-out choice: you can go to the Cubs game, or you can watch the Sox on tv. No, what I meant to say was, you can go to an actual game or you can check out Factory Theatre's Black and Blue, in previews at the Prop Theater on Elston. I had been hoping for a tale of football's Black-and-Blue Division, just to remind us that autumn will eventually come; but in fact it's about baseball rivalries, and a long-running bar bet between brothers. Can't get more Chicago than that--and half-price tickets are available this weekend. 

 

Laura Molzahn

You’d expect a piece called Myth & Continent to sprawl. But this hour-long movement-theater work for five, created and directed by SAIC faculty member Ginger Krebs and opening this Friday at a Park District field house, is distinctly unpretentious and DIY. It only has huge ambitions. Channeling Chicago’s internationally known Goat Island Performance Group (now defunct), Krebs rambles along multiple intellectual pathways; she says movement for the piece was inspired by “the pacing of zoo animals, romantic ideas about the landscape, road trips, road rage, office cubicle culture, and the voluntary confinement of spiritual seekers.” A kind of Rorschach test with a deeply buried but consistent subtext, Myth & Continent is great exercise for the imagination.

Flamenco dancers are more apt to pound their message home. Just kidding: the nuanced rhythms of flamenco music and dance are striking for their subtlety. At Mayne Stage this Saturday, Las Guitarras de Espana—which includes innovative flamenco dancer Wendy Clinard—shares an evening with dancer Chiara Mangiameli and her ensemble as part of a “Flamenco Collaborations Series” uncovering the form’s roots in Indian, African, and Arabic traditions.

Jonathan Abarbanel

Eclipse Theatre, which devotes itself each year to the works of a single playwright, continues its 2011 Naomi Wallace season with The Trestle at Pope Lick Creek, opening this Sunday (July 24). Wallace, a Macarthur "Genius Grant" recipient, often uses lyrical language, historical settings and large metaphors to comment on the present. One Flea Spare, staged by Eclipse in the spring, is set during the London Plague of the 1660s. The Trestle at Pope Lick Creek is set in impoverished, rural America in 1936, and concerns the coming-of-age of a 15-year-old boy, his parents and a 17-year-old adventuress who captures the boy's fancy, if not his heart. The Trestle at Pope Lick Creek is presented at The Greenhouse Theater and runs through Sept. 4.

Chicago Shakespeare Theater always offers something for the entire family during the summer, and this year it's The Adventures of Pinocchio, a world premiere new musical version of the classic tale, featuring—what else?—giant marionette puppets. Perhaps best of all, it's presented in the AIR CONDITIONED comfort of Chicago Shakes's indoor Courtyard Theater at Navy Pier. The Adventures of Pinocchio runs 75 minutes and is offered at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., Wed.-Sun., through Aug. 28.