Don't-Miss List March 29-April 3: Ghost stories, untimely death and prep-school romance

March 29, 2012



Dueling Critics, 91.5 FM and WBEZ.org, between 9 and 10 a.m. Friday March 30th, FREE!

Top of the list, of course, is our tete-a-tete on Eight Forty-Eight about Tea and Sympathy by the Artistic Home at Stage 773. A prep-school student suspected of being gay hopes to escape this fate worse than death through the ministrations of his housemaster’s frustrated wife. When you talk about this (and you will), be kind. Guest Duelist Albert Williams of the Reader, Columbia College Chicago and the George Jean Nathan Award for Dramatic Criticism will challenge me to consider whether this chestnut (staged in 1953, filmed in 1956 with the oh-so-sympathetic Deborah Kerr) is worth roasting.

Tangled at eta Creative Arts, 7558 S. South Chicago Ave., 8 p.m. Thursday March 29th, $10

eta’s new mainstage show is sadly timely, focusing as it does on a group of African-American women funeral directors. Sure, their South Side businesses are thriving, but who wants to profit from the early deaths of the neighborhood’s young men? In light of Trayvon Martin (only the most recent of many), Nicole Anderson-Cobb’s play will hit frighteningly close to home–and yet it’s styled a “provocative dramedy.” Thursdays through Sundays through May 20; tickets $30; $20 on “Talkback Thursdays” and a special $10 for tonight’s opening.

The Turn of the Screw at First Folio, Mayslake Estate, Oak Brook, 8 p.m. Saturday March 31st, $26-$37

Here’s a ghost story for those of you who confuse March 31 with October 31, one by Henry James for those of you too snobby to admit you like ghost stories and one starring the elegant Nick Sandys as the ghost for those of you still identifying with Mrs. Muir. Set in a spooky English manor, it’s performed in the spooky faux-English manor where First Folio makes its home. The company has a particular flair for genteel horror, so get in touch with your inner governess Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays through April 29.

Two Sides by Chicago Slam Works at the Vittum, 1012 N. Noble, 8 p.m. Tuesday April 3, $18.50

In the spirit of the season one might ask: Why is this poetry slam different from all other poetry slams?  To which the answer is, it’s a choreographed face-off between storytellers and performance poets. This is the first show of the inaugural season of Chicago Slam Works, which continues with shows in May and July. (A three-show Slam Pass will run you $40.)  Oil your snapping fingers and check it out.