WBEZ | InFusion Theatre http://www.wbez.org/tags/infusion-theatre Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Shatner Unbound, war profiteering and swing music http://www.wbez.org/blogs/onstagebackstage/2013-01/shatner-unbound-war-profiteering-and-swing-music-104655 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/shatner_gageskidmore.jpg" style="float: right; height: 200px; width: 300px;" title="William Shatner (Gage Skidmore)" /></div><p><u><em>Shatner&rsquo;s World (We Just Live In It)</em>, Paramount Theatre, 23 East Galena Boulevard in Aurora, Friday night only at 8 p.m.&nbsp; Call 630-896-6666 for tickets ($65, $75 and $85).</u></p><p>I admit it: when I first saw this show announced in September I instantly called for tickets.&nbsp; I was a Captain Kirk freak when all the cool kids were into Spock; I watched <em>TJ Hooker</em> just to hear the leading man say &ldquo;Dirt Bag.&rdquo;&nbsp; I owned a bootleg of <em>Star Trek</em> outtakes and another of our hero&#39;s bizarre interpretation of &ldquo;Rocket Man.&rdquo;&nbsp; I&rsquo;ve even seen the unspeakable studio version of <em>The Brothers Karamazov</em> because his Alyosha looks so cute in a cassock. So naturally I&rsquo;m prepared to drive an hour out to Aurora and an hour back to see William Shatner do whatever it is he&rsquo;s going to do in this one-man one-night-only show.&nbsp; It could be Priceline commercials (or even Promise commercials) for all of me.&nbsp; If you share my passion for the King of Self-Deprecation, the Master of the Unmotivated Mid-Sentence Pause, the ex-Shakespearean actor with the grace not to mourn his lost serious career for the phenomenal silly one he&rsquo;s had, I don&rsquo;t need to tell you: it&rsquo;s going to be well worth the Friday rush-hour drive.<br /><br /><u><em>Allotment Annie</em>, inFusion Theatre Company at Strawdog Theatre, 3829 North Broadway, previews tonight and tomorrow, opens Saturday (Jan. 5) at 8 p.m.&nbsp; Call 773-528-9696 for tickets ($10 previews, $25 and $15 for students and seniors); Thursdays-Sundays through February 3.</u><br /><br />Or if you&rsquo;d rather hear singing by people who can actually sing, coupled with swing dancing by people who can still swing, check out the world premiere of this new play &ldquo;infused&rdquo; (as the company says) with music and dancing of the 1940s.&nbsp; The play itself (not actually a musical) features renegade Air Force pilots, grasping bartenders, war profiteering and (as the company says) &ldquo;sex, betrayal and murder.&rdquo;&nbsp; Just good clean fun with which to start the year.</p></p> Thu, 03 Jan 2013 12:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/onstagebackstage/2013-01/shatner-unbound-war-profiteering-and-swing-music-104655 Christine Lin in 'Chinglish': Found in translation http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-07-13/christine-lin-chinglish-found-translation-89080 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//blog/photo/2011-July/2011-07-13/christine lin.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><img alt="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-July/2011-07-13/christine lin.jpg" style="width: 400px; height: 429px; margin-left: 10px; margin-right: 10px; margin-top: 10px; margin-bottom: 10px; float: left; " title="">The thorny process of translating language and culture is the whole point of David Henry Hwang’s farce <em>Chinglish</em>, the Goodman’s world premiere (<a href="http://www.goodmantheatre.org/">recently extended and headed for Broadway</a> in the fall). No surprise, then, that there’s no less than three translators, each showing a different facet of Chinese society, and lots of dialogue in Mandarin, translated into English in supertitles, as Midwestern businessman Daniel Cavanaugh wheels and deals in the provincial city of Guiyang.</p><p>Christine Lin, 29, a native of the northwest suburbs who also works part-time as an engineer, plays the third and final translator. “Mine is pretty confident she’s doing well and feels, I think, important that she’s translating for the judge and the prosecutor,” says Lin. “She’s also very proud of her city!”</p><p>Stereotyping runs rampant on both sides, but as Lin points out, “It’s important to remember that this is a specific story about specific people.” And sometimes simply being able to recognize a name or news event—Enron, for instance—is what creates a connection. When Hwang was visiting China and talked about musicals, the one that people reacted to most favorably, he told the cast, was <em>Enron</em> (a Broadway flop). Lin says their response was, “Oh yeah, we’ve heard of that!”</p><p>The Enron scandal plays a crucial role in Lin’s translation scene. “Every night that scene is different,” she says, “based on the audience reaction. For instance, sometimes when Daniel says, ‘Andrew Fastow could have been Chinese—he was so smart and guarded and kind of sneaky,’ some audiences are like, ‘Oh NO! He did <em>not</em> just say that!’ They’re scared he offended us. And I love that part when the audience realizes that, no, we think that’s a really flattering thing to say. Sometimes we get laughs…. The rhythm is different every night, so it’s learning to surf on the audience reaction, which is fun.”</p><p>Lin—the only Chicago actor in a cast of seven—knew Mandarin going in. Both her parents grew up in Taiwan (though her dad was born in mainland China) and came to the States for grad school. “I grew up speaking it,” she says, “and my grandparents of course speak Chinese, and I went to Chinese school… every Sunday! I wasn’t crazy about it. I don’t read it very well, but listening to it, I learned. And there were a lot of people to help with pronunciation and making sure we said things correctly.” During auditions, Lin says, “There were people who spoke Chinese, but maybe more Cantonese and only knew a little Mandarin, or a different dialect. They really aren’t the same! If someone is speaking Cantonese, I can’t understand a thing.”</p><p>Goodman’s production—workshopped for a year in New York, according to Lin—is pretty high-powered. Director Leigh Silverman also staged the world premiere of Hwang’s <em>Yellow Face</em> in 2007. “Leigh is great, very protective of her actors in the work,” says Lin. “She has a clear vision even though there’s room to play. And I loved to watch her work with David, there’s so much respect and understanding even without words.”</p><p>The Broadway cast hasn’t been announced, but Lin says, “We all get along together really well. I would love to go!” The day before we talked, she says, she went out onstage and “it just felt like home.”</p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/W9TVX1_wS4U" align="right" frameborder="0" height="200" scrolling="no" width="300"></iframe>A <a href="http://halcyontheatre.org/">Halcyon Theatre</a> and <a href="http://www.stirfridaynight.org/">Stir-Friday Night!</a> company member, Lin also played the lead in <a href="http://www.infusiontheatre.com/">InFusion</a>’s production of <em>Soul Samurai</em> last spring. At 5’8”, she does not fit the stereotype of Asian women—but playing warrior Dewdrop was perfect. “I’d had very little fight experience before that,” says Lin, “but it was so much fun. I’d love to fight again. I love to dance and sing, anything that challenges me…. I’m like, ‘Let’s try anything!’ Though, being an actor, that is part of the job.”</p></p> Wed, 13 Jul 2011 14:29:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-07-13/christine-lin-chinglish-found-translation-89080