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Friday, March 4, 2011

The Master and Margarita (Strawdog Theatre Company)


Editor's Note:  This is a conversation between Eric Roach and Simon Ambrose Roachinez "Tha Muthafuckin' Third".  Please be aware that Simon is an unborn fetus that did attend The Master and Margarita with his father, Eric, last night.

Eric
Hi Simon!

Simon
S'up, you white muthafucka!

Eric
Simon, please call me dad.

Simon
Aiight, as long as you call me The Best In The Biz, cracka.

Eric
Ok.  So, what did you think of The Master and Margarita last night?

Simon
Dad, what you think I thought, yo?  I'm all up in mom's belly, son!  I could tell there was some flashin' lights and shit, and people be laughin' at some weird ass devil jokes.  White people be crazy, you know what I'm sayin'?

Eric
I sure do know what you are saying!  Well, The Master and Margarita was a novel originally written by Russian author Mikhail Bulgakov over a period of 12 years.  He wrote it in 1928, then burned it in 1930, started it again in 1931, and kept on writing new drafts of it up until his death in 1940.  Many critics feel the book is one of the best novels of the 20th Century, and one of the foremost Soviet satires.

Simon
Man, the Soviets really love their satires, pop!  Shit was BALLIN', yo!

Eric
It certainly was balling, my boy!  Anyway, Strawdog Theatre just opened their production of the Edward Kemp adaptation of the novel, directed by longtime Chicago storefront stalwart Louis Contey.

Simon
Contey's is that bomb-ass shit that always be poppin', y'all.

Eric
Contey's direction is top-notch, as the staging was amazingly entertaining.  Keeping such a large cast moving and shaking for 2 hours and 15 minutes is a huge challenge, but he was more than up to the task.

Simon
Especially when they all be doin' such a freaky script that don't make NO sense, yo!

Eric
Doesn't make any sense, Simon.  But, yes, it don't make no sense.  But that's okay when you have such a great cross-section of incredible Chicago actors on stage at the same time!  Let's start with the titular couple, shall we?  Dennis Grimes is channelling a young Jeff Daniels in his rock-solid portrayal of The Master, the cowardly playwright at the center of the piece.

Simon
And, dad?  I'd like to break off a piece of that Justine Turner!  WHAAAAAT?  You want some fries with that shake, gurl?

Eric
Yes, Miss Turner is lovely and enchanting as Margarita, the passionate woman who falls for The Master and his subversive play about Pontius Pilate and Jesus.

Simon
The first half of this play was all about Russian bureaucracy, and how the state decided what the citizenry would be allowed to believe as the truth, right, dad?

Eric
HELL YEAH, SON!

Simon
You know I'm the shit, y'all.

Eric
Soon, the play is populated with the otherworldly Professor Woland and his band of nasties.  Woland is played by none other than Tom Hickey, who simply can't contain himself.  Tom really chews up the scenery in this one, giving the devil his due.

Simon
And then there's your homie Anderson Lawfer, playing like a retarded Wookie or something.

Eric
Andy played Behemoth, Woland's talking cat.  And does it with panache!  Only Anderson Lawfer could get into a dirty mascot costume and make you believe in a psychotic cat.  He also pulls off the best line of the show, which brilliantly breaks the fourth wall and serves the context at the same time!

Simon
THIS PLAY BE ALL SMART AND SHIT!

Eric
Oh yes.  This is probably one of the smartest plays I've seen in quite a while, and while that can be the kiss of death these days - Larry the Cable Guy DOES have a show on The History Channel, you know - this show really provides the entertainment value.  It clips along, and really brings the laughs!  And you'll still be thinking about it long after it's over!

Simon
Dad!  Don't forget so many other great actors out there like Christy Arington, Anita Deely, Loretta Rezos, Dan Granata, and Sarah Goeden!  You trippin' if you forgettin' them!

Eric
You are so right Simon!  I would be tripping to forget about those wonderful performances.

Simon
Basically, pops, this show is a really fine and funny allegory about how politics and logic cannot destroy 2000 years of subconscious belief.  It also can be taken as a fine slapsticky farce and as a showcase for wonderful acting.  Really, Strawdog is bringing that fucking flavor to your EAR, son!

Eric
I really couldn't have said it better myself, Simon!  Go see a really weirdo play, America!

Simon
PEACE, NIPPLE GREASE!

The Master and Margarita - A

-Eric Roach, Anderson Lawfer, and introducing Simon Ambrose Roachinez "Tha Muthafuckin' Third"

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