Daily Rehearsal: High Concept Laboratories' most recent experiment
1. Polarity Ensemble's Kabulitis wraps up this weekend. The play "gives an intimate look into the life of an American woman married to an Afghan and living in Kabul, Afghanistan." Playwright Keith Anwar based it all on his real family; his father was from Afghanistan, and while living in the country with his American-born wife, received death threats because she wouldn't wear a veil, eventually forcing them to leave the country. The play is directed by Lavina Jadhwani, Artistic Director of Rasaka Theatre Company.
2. Last week, High Concept Laboratories put up project title: assignment #403 by Kasey Foster. The production includes original compositions, with creative shadow puppetry and video production, but otherwise, according to my men on the inside, it was somewhat "staid." Bottom line: it's enjoyable but not much more, and is good for families (the final show is tomorrow). The real stars of Saturday's performance were the middle school band playing upstairs, The UnGnomes, who had tried unsuccessfully to get a gig at the Hideout across the street, but were told that since they weren't 21, no dice.
3. Thoughts on cabaret from Bob Bullen, who went to Catalyst Cabaret's Halloween show: He doesn't like it when performers spend time "justifying" their song choice to the audience. "I don’t care about the thought process that went into putting your show together," writes Bullen. "Just do the show, and make it compelling through a clear through-line, unique story and inspired song. Reasoning your song choices by simply telling us why you chose your song (i.e., 'this is a favorite audition song of mine') is lazy. Tell a story. Create a context. Build a cohesive evening." Don't be lazy!
4. The first bad review I've read of Follies, be still my beating heart, comes from the Reader. Reviewer Justin Hayford is primarily critical of the concept of Sondheim's Follies (perhaps because he may not be going through the throes of a midlife crisis), than Chicago Shakespeare Theater's actual production.
5. Tonight, DCA's Incubator series will present a workshop performance of Homefront. The play was developed by Ron Popp, Artistic Director of Project 891 Theatre Company, and it "takes a closer look at a family in rural America with one son who has recently been deployed to Afghanistan." It's at 7:30 pm at the DCA Studio Theater in the Chicago Cultural Center.