Don’t-Miss List April 19-25: The Bard's birthday and more

April 19, 2012

Kelly Kleiman and Jonathan Abarbanel

SALOMEE SPEELT’S La Musica, 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Chicago Dramatists, 1105
W. Chicago Avenue; tickets $25


A Belgian theater company, a French author, French wine, even performances at Alliance
Francaise
: Who says Chicago ain’t a global city? Marguerite Duras, whose novels and plays
explore politics, eros and the politics of eros, wrote a 60-minute conversation between a pair of lovers who are breaking up–or perhaps not. Now Alice Austen, one of Chicago Dramatists’ resident playwrights, has written a new translation of Duras’ work, and the Belgian company Salomee Speelt is coming to town to perform it. This weekend (Thursday-Friday-Saturday) performances take place at Chicago Dramatists; the rest of the run (Fridays and Saturdays through May 12) is at Alliance Francaise, a mile or so closer to the lake at 54 W. Chicago Avenue. If you’re in the theater biz, attend a special $10 performance on Monday, May 7. -KK

BONEdanse/Breakbone DanceCo, 5-5-5, 9:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday April 20 & 21 at The Viaduct, 3111 N. Western Avenue; tickets $5

Breakbone, the brainchild of Chicago dancer-choreographer extraordinaire Atalee Judy,
celebrates the 15th anniversary of its take-no-prisoners style of dance with a quartet of
performances–two this weekend and two next. This time around five fashion designers will have five minutes to make something coherent out of whatever they can grab from an onstage clothing rack, at which point dancers will don the results and improvise for five minutes. If there could be such a thing as an avant-garde Project Runway meets Dancing With the Stars, this would be it. -KK

Or, if you prefer something slightly more conventional, show up same day/time/location next week for the full-length This is a Damage Manual (tickets a still-reasonable $15). Less a dance concert than a high-speed festival of ideas in motion, Judy’s work is always provocative and often thrilling.

Shakespeare’s Birthday, 5-9 p.m. Sunday April 22 at the Red Lion Lincoln Square, 4749 N.
Rockwell, FREE.
-KK

So the actual birthday isn’t til Monday, but that’s no reason to skip Sunday’s Open Mic celebration of the Bard of Avon. Come prepared with a quote, sonnet or speech by the birthday boy. You’ll also get a glimpse of Promethean Theatre Ensemble’s production of Henry V, which opens (appropriately enough) on 5/5. -KK

The Second City, Who Do We Think We Are?; 8 p.m. Thursday – Saturday, 7 p.m. Sunday, 1616 N. Wells Street; tickets $23

In the first half of the 20th Century, the single greatest influence shaping American comedy was vaudeville. Since 1959, the greatest shaper of American comedy—without a hint of a shadow of a doubt—has been The Second City. The nearly-endless list of Second City alums (including its predecessor companies) penetrates to the heart of comedy on TV, in movies, nightclubs and theater. We’re not talking merely comic actors here, but writers, directors and producers as well from Mike Nichols to John Belushi to Betty Thomas to David Steinberg to Tina Fey to Del Close to Joan Rivers and on and on and on. Last week, the original and still home-base Second City here in Chicago opened its 100th satirical comedy revue, Who Do We Think We Are?, created by the company as always. It’s set for an open run. It should be noted, too, that Bernard Sahlins, one of the three co-founders, still is alive and making theater in Chicago. -JA

Striding Lion Performance Group, The Jenkins Farm Project and Remember the . . . (Alamo), times and dates vary at The Viaduct, 3111 N. Western Avenue; tickets $20 for one show or $30 for both

Striding Lion Performance Group has been around for the better part of a decade creating singular work that draws on virtually all disciplines of live performance, and sometimes incorporates visual media as well. Although still a low-profile company, Striding Lion is notable for its artistic ambitions, clearly in evidence in two new pieces to be performed in repertory, The Jenkins Farm Project and Remember the . . . (Alamo). Performed to original music, the works feature choreography (by artistic director Annie Beserra) inspired by history and geography, so think family farm as it was Back Then and Mexican and American buckaroos. The Striding Lion rep is presented at The Viaduct through April 29. -JA