Steep Theatre’s ‘The Writer’ is a Surprising Escapist Meta Adventure

I entered The Edge Theater already wary. I was going into The Writer knowing nothing of the play except what the title tells me. That it’s about, well, a writer. A playwright.

Plays about plays tend to be didactic and masturbatory. Artists are so close to the subject that it renders the play incapable of complex analysis. As it turns out, masturbatory didacticism is intentionally the driving force of The Writer, and playwright Ella Hickson weaponizes these themes in such a way that complicates it further than other plays of the genre.

The Writer is about escapism. Continue reading “Steep Theatre’s ‘The Writer’ is a Surprising Escapist Meta Adventure”

The Devil’s in the Walls – No Man’s Land at Steppenwolf Theatre

Suspended in front of a blank white slate is a proscenium inside a proscenium (scenic, Andrew Boyce). Two men sit inside, each uniquely unpleasant, each reaching desperately to the other for an emotional connection. Hirst (Jeff Perry), the rich “man of letters” and owner of the decadent home, and Spooner (Mark Ulrich), a random man he met in a bar, proceed to engage in a battle of words. As the scene goes on, I become keenly aware Spooner is taking more than his fair share of the conversation. I seriously thought Spooner was going to grow horns at some point, he’s so whimsical it is hardly trustworthy, but it is fantastic to watch. As Spooner gets more animated, seemingly feeding on Hirst’s apathy, Hirst gets quieter, and harder to understand. I suddenly realize what is happening – he is extremely drunk and slowly shutting down. 

Continue reading “The Devil’s in the Walls – No Man’s Land at Steppenwolf Theatre”

Decomposition Instead of Collapse – Dear Theatre, Be Like Soil

Co-signed by Lauren Halvorsen and edited by Regina Victor.

With thanks to Stephanie Ybarra for always daring me to speak my ideas – Annalisa Dias

Editors note: This eco-driven essay urges us toward regenerative strategies and will also be published in Halvorsen’s newsletter: Nothing for the Group! This brain trust and resource sharing is a natural development as Annalisa dives into the collective wisdom of mycelial networks, and what they can teach us about supporting each together through this abrupt change. – Regina Victor

Author’s note: One of the biggest obstacles to systemic change is the unwillingness to move beyond the current paradigm we inhabit. We won’t be able to identify solutions or viability / scalability of those solutions until we move beyond an economic paradigm driven by scarcity. This essay is for those interested in using the imagination to push past the limitations of our current social and economic containers. Annalisa Dias

at the time all we knew was the story had run out. all the stories. of staying young to cheat death. of thinking young people wouldn’t die. of immortality via “making a difference.” of genetic imprint as stability. of stacking money and etching names on buildings. people used to do those things before. not to mention that they would not mention death and would hide the dying away and strive to protect the eyes of the children who already knew everything.

at some point. all the dead being here anyway and all of us here being obviously doomed, we let go of that particular game. and started breathing. and saw our hands.

we let go.

i felt like i could fly.

alexis pauline gumbs. M archive.

Continue reading “Decomposition Instead of Collapse – Dear Theatre, Be Like Soil”

The Fly Honeys 2023 Labor Day Weekend Lineup

The Fly Honeys are back and the bees are a-buzzing baby! If you have a pulse and live in Chicago, you should know who the Honeys are by now, but let me tell the new post-panorama generation what’s good. The Fly Honeys are a femme-led, party-starting, ass-shaking, glitter-bombing, sex-positive queer punk performance group born from a legendary annual event, The Fly Honey Show, founded in Chicago in 2010. They are best known for their saying “everybody, no matter what your body.” Having personally experienced the Hive as a dancer prior to the pandemic, they practice what they preach! 

Continue reading “The Fly Honeys 2023 Labor Day Weekend Lineup”

Haven Chicago Presents ‘The Art of Bowing’ A Muscular and Engaging Ode to Artists

The Art of Bowing by Nathan Alan Davis presented by Haven Chicago is an experimental must-see and galvanizing production for anyone uncertain about their role in the performing arts, whether patron or performer. Directed by Haven’s Artistic Director Ian Damont Martin, The Art of Bowing honors and eviscerates the theatre in equal measure, and left me thinking about my role as an artist, critic, and patron in theatre’s survival.  Continue reading “Haven Chicago Presents ‘The Art of Bowing’ A Muscular and Engaging Ode to Artists”

Lucy and Charlie’s Honeymoon is a New Take on the Classic (mid)Western

Lucy and Charlie have an instant attraction, as dangerous as it is romantic. Likening themselves to a modern-day Bonnie and Clyde, these two get hitched on a whim and head out on their honeymoon looking for trouble, only trouble ain’t that hard to find. Before too long, Lucy and Charlie find themselves on the run from the law and an international criminal organization. Featuring original country western and folk songs, Lucy and Charlie’s Honeymoon by Lookingglass Artistic Associate Matthew C. Yee, is a whirl-wind adventure about two First Generation Asian-American renegades. 

Charlie (Matthew C. Yee) and Lucy (Aurora Adachi-Winter) are the embodiment of chaotic good. Their outlaw behavior is a reclamation of their identity, and a rejection of stereotypes.  Charlie is a “cool cowboy” and Lucy is an unstoppable force. Together, they barrel across the Midwest headed toward Charlie’s family cabin, getting tangled up with a hilarious cast of characters along the way. Directed by Amanda Dehnert, Lucy and Charlie’s Honeymoon is a hilarious runaway train chock full of comedic partnerships.  Continue reading “Lucy and Charlie’s Honeymoon is a New Take on the Classic (mid)Western”

Flip the Script: Dancing Toward the Apocalypse in Porto

In the sculpture garden at Porto’s Serralves Museu de Arte Contemporânea, there’s a work by Anish Kapoor, the creator of Cloud Gate. Sky Mirror, the sculpture at Serralves, is instantly identifiable to anyone who’s been to Millennium Park. It’s a large, concave mirror tilted toward the sky, reflecting a distortion of the sky that shifts as the viewer changes their perspective.

 Nebula, a solo dance choreographed and performed by Vania Vaneau, made its Portuguese premiere at Serralves in April’s Festival Dias Da Dança (DDD), an international dance festival. A similar concave tool was used by Vaneau, though it was a lens instead of a mirror. Early in the piece, she held it in front of her face in an otherwise pitch-dark theatre, reflecting stage lights back into the audience but illuminating nothing. Thus began Vaneau’s exploration of the space and its environment, which also included incense, charcoal, water, and crystals. Above the stage, the ambient glow of an eclipsed moon, comprised of an empty ring of LED lights, barely penetrated the darkness. Continue reading “Flip the Script: Dancing Toward the Apocalypse in Porto”

Part Four: Common Traps for The Aspiring Artist, A Testimonial at Trap Door Theatre

This is a testimonial piece by Chicago Theatre Community member Robin Minkens, who had a multi-year experience with Trap Door Theatre, a local storefront theatre. This is a personal experience, from a single perspective. These pieces by their nature, and per our mission, are subjective by intention. *Rescripted has not independently verified the details in this testimonial. The opinions in this piece belong solely to the author.* This is not reporting, but community support. Our aim as always is to amplify those who do not have a platform, and to empower the experience of the artist. 

Editor’s Note:  Robin came to me through Facebook at the end of April because she had seen my own testimonials on social media. Robin had recorded her experience in a draft, and was wondering if her experience had merit, and if it would be beneficial to share it with others. At that time, she did not know that I was an editor, or of the existence of Rescripted. When I had read the entirety of her story, I was appalled. What captured me about Robin’s testimonial is that it is a story many of us have lived through. Emerging into a professional theatre scene with abundant hopes and dreams, only to encounter prejudice, maltreatment, and gaslighting. The commonalities in this piece are harrowing to me, because they require us to accept that the way we have been working is not ethical. The experiences we have endured are not acceptable. This piece is a death by a thousand paper cuts. I encourage you to read it to the end. This is Part One, and you can access Part Two by clicking this link

End of 2021: Revelations 

October, 2021. At this time, Trap Door was to edit their website. They asked for pictures from projects and any reviews from shows that we would like to include on our profile for us to market ourselves. I was reluctant to submit my materials, considering everything I had experienced up to this point. However, I did eventually decide to submit them. I was so proud of what I had accomplished up to that point, even with the odds being stacked against me. I chose my favorite professional photos with reviews from the shows. I sent in my photos and reviews, and the only piece of my materials that made it to my profile on the website was my bio. I did not get a response to my email with my materials. Beata has yet to return from Poland, gone since 2019. This caused me to deeply inquire about communication practices at Trap Door.  Continue reading “Part Four: Common Traps for The Aspiring Artist, A Testimonial at Trap Door Theatre”

A Triumph of Will in ‘Gender Play’ at About Face Theatre

The first part of the ritual was the coat. Black, regal, with safety pins up and down the lapels that made me feel like I was one of Shakespeare’s youths bursting at the seams with ambition. My outfit was freshly plucked off of the costume rack next to the Bookspan, like my fellow audience members. Leathers, vests, and even a sequined battle helmet complete with a blonde braid peppered the crowd. It was costume designer Uriel Gomez’s way of inviting the audience into the world of lush fabrics and textures that make up much of the world of Gender Play, or what you Will. 

The second part of the ritual was the tarot card. From the twenty-two cards that comprise the Major Arcana spread across the table in the dark hall, I first selected Strength, feeling the edges of the sturdy paper in my hand. I then eyed The Hanged Woman, suspended before a state of transformation – Death. I had drawn both cards just hours before. I took them both into the theatre.  Continue reading “A Triumph of Will in ‘Gender Play’ at About Face Theatre”

‘Motherhouse’ at Rivendell Explores the Complicated Faces of Grief

“My mother hates her body / We share the same outline / She swears that she loves mine” – Lucy Dacus

Annie’s mother is dead. She enlists her four aunts– her mother’s sisters– to help write the eulogy. None of the women know what to contribute. Motherhouse reveals the complications that come with grieving a close and complicated relative.

Over a kitchen table surrounded by updated, stainless steel appliances, the women greet each other with a cacophony of “you’ve gotten so thin!”s. The dissonance of the beautiful, upper-middle-class kitchen and the complete animosity the women have towards food and their own bodies thrusts the audience into the world of the play. This is a family where appearances are prioritized, and trauma is swept under the rug. Continue reading “‘Motherhouse’ at Rivendell Explores the Complicated Faces of Grief”