WBEZ | Megacosm http://www.wbez.org/tags/megacosm Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Daily Rehearsal: Dance at American Girl Place http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2012-02-21/daily-rehearsal-dance-american-girl-place-96587 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2012-February/2012-02-21/900707345_98af1542eb.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><strong>1. Gilbert &amp; Sullivan's <a href="http://www.footlights.com/chicago/events/event/view-event/gilbert-sullivans-the-gondoliers.html"><em>The Gondoliers </em></a></strong></span></span>is up at Mandel Hall at the University of Chicago the weekend of March 9. It&nbsp;"takes place in 19th-century Venice, where two handsome and charming would-be Kings – both gondoliers – vie for the disputed throne of Barataria." Riveting! Will there be water? Another fun fact: When it opened, "the comic opera was Gilbert &amp; Sullivan’s last great success, opening in 1889 and continuing for 554 performances—at that time the fifth longest running piece of musical theatre in history." And a final fun fact:&nbsp;2012 is the 28th consecutive year that the proceeds from the production will benefit the University's Department of Music.</p><p><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><strong>2. We've got more detailed thoughts</strong></span></span> about the power of regional theater from Jason Loewith at Howlround.&nbsp;The gist? Stop whining! "Managing institutional expansion while staying true to a theater’s intimate roots is a huge challenge when companies try to break financial barriers, <a href="http://www.howlround.com/in-case-you-missed-the-revolution-by-jason-loewith/">he writes</a>.</p><blockquote><p>"A success story I love was written by Writers’ Theatre in Glencoe, Illinois. The company, which began in 1992 with fifty seats in the back of a bookstore, traded on its intimacy between artist and patron, and within ten years had grown to a budget of $1.2 million and 5,400 subscribers. When the company designed a new space in 2003, it held on to its hallmark intimacy by increasing to only 108 seats; the company retained (and even grew) its near-capacity subscription base, and now boasts a budget of $3.5 million.</p></blockquote><p><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><strong>3. Red Orchid's <em>Megacosm </em></strong></span></span>has been extended through March 11. Read more about the production <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2012-02-01/dado-comes-back-chicago-red-orchids-megacosm-96019">here</a>.</p><p><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2012-February/2012-02-21/900707345_98af1542eb.jpg" style="margin-right: 10px; margin-top: 10px; margin-bottom: 10px; float: left; width: 300px; height: 225px; " title="Just imagine they're ballerinas (Flickr/C.J. Peters)"><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><strong>4. An activity I would have gotten behind as a youth </strong></span></span>(and, let's face it, am totally into now):&nbsp;The Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University and American Ballet Theatre (ABT) have joined up to host a dance class for girls 8 and up at the American Girl Place in Water Tower. "Visiting ABT teaching artist and former ABT dancer Anna Spelman will lead four 20-minute sessions featuring an introduction to the basics of ballet and movement from ABT’s upcoming performance of <em>Giselle </em>at ATRU (March 22 – 25)." It's a free event, but space will be limited. March 10 from 11 am to 1 pm.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p style="margin:0in;margin-bottom:.0001pt"><o:p></o:p></p><p><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><strong>5. Theaters just love conversations these days</strong></span></span>. Strawdog is the latest; they're doing a series called "Play Rites!" that starts March 5 will Bill Savage. He'll be moderator for&nbsp;“American Criminals,” a spin-off of The Petrified Forest. Topics of discussion include gangsters and outlaws of all kinds.&nbsp;</p><p>Questions? Tips? Email <a href="mailto:kdries@wbez.org">kdries@wbez.org</a>.</p></p> Tue, 21 Feb 2012 20:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2012-02-21/daily-rehearsal-dance-american-girl-place-96587 Dado comes back in A Red Orchid's 'Megacosm' http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2012-02-01/dado-comes-back-chicago-red-orchids-megacosm-96019 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2012-February/2012-02-01/dado 2.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><img alt="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2012-February/2012-02-01/dado.jpg" style="margin-right: 10px; margin-top: 10px; margin-bottom: 10px; float: left; width: 358px; height: 501px; " title="">"I love directing Brett’s work, but it’s a joke between us that we had to move to LA to work together," says Dado, director of Brett Neveu’s brand-new <a href="http://www.aredorchidtheatre.org/"><em>Megacosm </em>at A Red Orchid</a>. She and the playwright happened to move to Los Angeles the same month in 2007, and right away she pitched his <em>American Dead</em> to Rogue Machine Theatre. "They snatched it up, and it did so well," she says.</p><p>Making pitches—to corporate America—is a big part of <em>Megacosm</em>, set in a bizarre sci-fi world uncomfortably like our own but amped up to satirical, hysterically funny levels.</p><p>Thanks to set designer John Dalton, it has what Dado calls a “Death Star” look. Both Dalton, who does a lot of commercial work, and Neveu, who’s still living in LA, “have had the weirdest meetings in the weirdest rooms to pitch their ideas,” she says. “We wanted a place that looks like it’s been moved and redesigned and put back together haphazardly.”</p><p>“I believe when Brett wrote <em>Megacosm</em> he was writing in response to the BP spill,” says Dado. “Which is great for me because I live down in BP-land.” In 2009 she left LA and moved back to Whiting, Indiana, where her family lives. (“I come from a long line of union ironworkers and carpenters,” she adds. “Our maternal grandmother, however, was ‘in the vaudeville.’”)</p><p>“My town is three-quarters refinery and one-quarter town,” Dado says. “So when Brett told me the play has so much to do with how corporations spin things, suddenly it all clicked into place.”</p><p>The antagonists in <em>Megacosm</em> are an inventor and the CEO of an undefined business. But “I don’t think I chose a side when I directed this play,” says Dado. “Instead I wanted the audience to want to protect the megacosm.” That is, a box containing tiny people—so small they can only be seen through a microscope, a view represented onstage on multiple TV screens.</p><p>“I shot that footage,” Dado says. “I specifically chose those actors. I directed it, in [<a href="http://www.oddmachine.com/">media designer Seth Henrikson</a>’s] wonderful facility. He let me stand there all day and just yell at them, ‘Pick up your hand! Move your leg! Jump up and down!’ It was all MOS—no sound.”</p><p>“I’m not a filmmaker like Seth is. He helped me so much—we had to figure out so many things. It was so much work.” But definitely worth it, as these perfect miniature human beings innocently dancing around in their box get under our skin in a big way.</p><p><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2012-February/2012-02-01/dado 2.jpg" style="width: 600px; height: 399px; " title="'Megacosm' with Larry Grimm, Danny McCarthy and David Steiger (Photo by Michael Brosilow)"></p><p>While she was still in LA, Dado also directed a 13-minute film, <em>Convo</em>, scripted by Neveu. And she’d like to make another film, she says, “especially after the <em>Megacosm</em> experience.”</p><p>Since she moved back, Dado has done a lot of things she didn’t envision in 2009. “I didn’t think I’d be doing any more acting or directing,” she says. “I was just gonna be a schoolteacher.”</p><p>“I didn’t mean to start acting again.” Then director Zeljko Djukic (“an amazing artist!”) asked her to perform in Trap Door’s production of Werner Schwab’s <em>First Ladies</em>. “To be asked to do something like that,” Dado says, “after seven years of not acting? I was really honored.”</p><p>Next acting gig was another critically praised Schwab/Trap Door production, <em>Overweight, Unimportant, Misshape</em>. “We were eating people,” she says. “<a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-04-01/holy-sht-nicole-wiesner-goes-home-trap-door-84611#"><em>First Ladies</em> was all about poop and blood</a>, and in this one we literally raped and killed the people and ate them. It was very X-rated, in a good way. But my children [8 and 12] didn’t see it.”</p><p>In some ways, directing Neveu’s <em>Megacosm</em> was the result of (reluctantly) turning down his <em>The Meek</em> in 2006 at A Red Orchid, where both are ensemble members. Instead she directed Pinter’s <em>The Hothouse</em>. “Flash-forward to opening night 2012,” she says, “and Brett turns to me and says, ‘You know, I wrote <em>Megacosm</em> largely in response to <em>Hothouse</em>.’”</p><p>“I’m a creature of instinct in a lot of ways,” Dado adds. “You just have to make decisions on the basis of what’s shaping your life at the moment, and try not to think ahead too much."</p></p> Wed, 01 Feb 2012 16:20:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2012-02-01/dado-comes-back-chicago-red-orchids-megacosm-96019