The Don't-Miss List: Luna Negra in 'Moniquilla and the Thief of Laughter'

November 30, 2011

Kelly Kleiman

I guess I shouldn't be surprised at a brilliant one-man Iliad--after all, the bardic tradition is precisely of one man telling an epic story. But Timothy Edward Kane's embodiment of all the characters in the agonizing finale of the Trojan War is amazing nonetheless. With only a handful of contemporary references, the script (by Denis O'Hare and Lisa Peterson) and performance make clear that wars of conquest are all the same, and all more costly than worthwhile. The Court Theatre production runs only through next weekend (December 11); hop on the Metra and see it. Tickets are from $10 to $60. 

And while you're venturing out of downtown, head to Berwyn for Saturday's sneak preview of the upcoming 5th season at 16th Street Theater. The season's theme is "Love, Faith and the Unknown," and the FREE preview will include excerpts from each of the upcoming plays. The festivities begin at 5 p.m.  While you're out there, see if there's a seat left for Holiday Stories (a seasonal tryptych by company-affiliated playwrights Elizabeth Berg, Rohina Malik and Tanya Saracho), which closes on Sunday. Tickets are $18. 

Laura Molzahn

Try on Paper Shoes tonight, tomorrow night, and next Thursday and Friday with Rachel Bunting’s The Humans. She describes her dance-theater project on memory and loss, two years in the making, as “something like a twisted and crinkled map in my hands that refuses to be folded up… ever, ever again.” Thursdays and Fridays through Dec. 9 at Hamlin Park Fieldhouse.

There are two, count them, two! kids’ dance shows this weekend that are not The Nutcracker. Luna Negra Dance Theater launches its family series, Luna Niños, with Gustavo Ramirez Sansano’s Moniquilla and the Thief of Laughter at Stage 773, Saturday and Sunday with two shows each day. Expect “flying pendulums, jungle spies, bursting water balloons, and secret laboratories.” Also this weekend: Hubbard Street 2’s Harold and the Purple Crayon, in matinees at the Harris Saturday and Sunday.

At Link’s Hall, Synapse Arts presents new works by Suzy Grant, Samantha Spriggs, and artistic director Rachel Damon. At the DuSable Museum of African American History, Muntu Dance Theatre of Chicago presents its fall series, this year titled “Spice It Up!” And at Architectural Artifacts, Mordine & Co. hosts a free “fête champagne,” which includes performances of excerpts from Shirley Mordine’s LifeSpeak and work in progress.

Jonathan Abarbanel

Bah! Humbug! Eff the Xmas cheer and--for one night only—indulge your darkest fantasies and desires with DEATHSCRIBE, next Monday, Dec. 5, 8PM at the Mayne Stage in Rogers Park (1328 W. Morse). This chilling night out offers five horror-genre radio plays, staged with a live Foley artist to ensure that every bone-crunching, gut-wrenching, squeaky-doored, blood-splashing moment sounds—uh—accurate . . . and then some. Deathscribe is an annual presentation of WildClaw (sic) Theatre, the only Chicago troupe devoted entirely to horror (not just at Halloween). We trust that Deathscribe will be much more than horrible.

Remy Bumppo Theatre Company and its new artistic director, Timothy Douglas, offer their take on Pierre de Marivaux’s elegant 18th Century French romantic comedy, Changes of Heart, in a heralded English version by Stephen Wadsworth. The original play has characters derived from the Renaissance Italian commedia dell’arte, such as Harlequin. It’s anyone’s guess if they will survive Douglas’s update to 1960’s Chicago, and whether Harlequin will appear in hippie beads and bell-bottoms. Changes of Heartruns through Jan. 8 at The Greenhouse in Lincoln Park.