Critics theater picks for 7/15-7/17
If you prefer your tragedy with a more contemporary flair, and your outdoor theater with a roof, try Eclipse Theatre Company's After the Fall, revived at Theatre on the Lake just for the weekend. The original production evoked a rare rave from Hedy Weiss, who praised it for its conquest of an extremely difficult text. Miller certainly opened a vein for this story of his doomed marriage to Marilyn Monroe, and a good version of it is an unusual and thrilling thing. Through Sunday only; curtain at 7:30 at Fullerton and Lake Shore Drive; tickets are $17.50.
Some plays embody a different kind of tragedy: the tragedy of having been written at all. Drek Fest 5, a co-production of Stage Left and ComedySportz, annually presents plays that are deliberately, and deliciously, awful, under the motto "It takes guts to write crap!" This year's Final Four (featuring work by the champions of DrekFests 3 and 4) will receive staged readings this coming Tuesday, and then will be torn to shreds by a lively panel (including our own Jonathan Abarbanel) before a Grand Loser is crowned by vote of the audience. Come get a year's worth of theatrical disappointment out of your system in a single night. Tuesday, July 19, 7:30 p.m. at ComedySportz Theatre, 929 West Belmont; tickets are $15.
Save the date: Tuesday, July 19, is the first day to get your free “tickets” to the Chicago Dancing Festival events in August—and this is the first year you can make your bids online, at least for shows at the MCA and the Auditorium (at the Harris, you can claim your seats by phone or at the box office). This is also the first year that tickets are being made available on a staggered basis, with different events/venues being offered on different days. See the CDF website for details.
And an update: well, no update really. There’s still no word on the Joffrey/AGMA union snafu—and no word on whether the Joffrey will appear during CDF or not.
"God for Harry, England and St. George!" will echo throughout the Oak Park Historic District this weekend as the 37th season of the Oak Park Festival Theatre launches Henry V outdoors in Austin Gardens, where fireflies twinkle and rabbits scamper among the stately oak trees, so appropriate to Shakespeare's great English history play. Oak Park veteran actor and director Kevin Theis is at the helm, with Dennis Grimes as King Henry V, nicknamed both Hal and Harry. Henry V runs through Aug. 20