I enjoy seeing all kinds of theatre. Opera, dance, and even some folk dance. I also enjoy the theatre of war.
Now, this is all well and good until Friday night, when my wife and I decided to drink in a performance of "The Castle" by Howard Barker at Oracle Theatre.
Oracle is a company that I have quite a history with. The old Artistic Director, Aaron Shapiro and I, used to get very drunk together and muse about women, and one time I threw up red wine on his new white carpet. But really, I think that is probably his fault, because what jerk has a white carpet? I mean, we were like, 25 years old, you have to imagine that things will get weird every now and then and the last thing you want to have when that happens is white flooring that can't be immediately cleaned. I mean, what if girls came over and we wanted to get freaky on the floor? Well we'd have to find some trash bags or something for the ground because I like my sex with lots of body liquids everywhere so that's your first problem.
Now it's funny that you should mention sex with lots of body juices, because that's what "The Castle" was for me.
Immediately when I walked in, the place was packed! I wasn't sure if we would be able to get a seat, but luckily I had called ahead, so there was a space reserved for us in the front row.
First, I'd like to give special acknowledgement to Eric Van Tassel, a giant in our community for working diligently as a tech director and stage manager (both women's jobs) and doing them without any complaining as far as I saw. Great job Eric!
The play is about a young crusader (Jason Rice) who returns from killing Muslims in the middle east to find his homeland in upheaval. His wife is in love with a witch, his assistants won't listen to him anymore, and he talks really loudly so everyone knows what he is talking about. Joining him at the castle: his friend Nailer (played with exquisite ingenuity by the illustrious Casey Chapman) and this other guy with a stick (Jackson King, an incredible new talent) who has sex with the lady who lives at the castle maybe? I know she had some kids out of wedlock, I think. It was hard to figure out what was going on.
But one thing I could say, I sure would've liked to have had some kids with the lady of that castle ( a thinks-she-is-so-much-better-than-me Rachel Boller)!
The room, (thanks largely to Ben Fuchsen and Justin Warren for cleaning up and letting Chris Neil and Kristina Carr build a very sturdy set) was filled with energy and all the actors seemed to have a pretty reasonable idea of what was happening next, and what they were going to do after the show was over.
I'm glad I stuck around with my wife after the show was over, because I really wanted to meet the actors since they did such a marvelous job. For example, I had always wanted to meet David Borren, a Chicago theatre staple, and I had my chance! Just when I was about to become a big nerd and embarrass myself by gushing over his catalogue of achievements, a young fresh actress, Victoria Gilbert (great in her role as the witch) took her top off and started shotgunning beers for everyone to see. Well, my wife is not one to be outdone, so she was next and the girls poured beer all over each other and giggled while the men tried to ignore this and continued to play hangman.
Listen, I can't make you see a play. I can only recommend it. But listen, the people at Oracle theatre will give you beer and a great show and you can meet them afterwards and play hangman, and then they will get naked.
So think about it.
The Castle by Howard Barker
-Anderson Lawfer, Eric Roach