Thursday, May 17, 2012


Listen up.

The Chicago Mammals are ready to freak your brain out.  They are born and bred to blow your shit out of your ass and do things on stage that will make your peehole pucker up.  You'll wonder why they haven't taken over the Chicago storefront scene.  But then you realize...THEY HAVE.

ALL GIRL MOBY DICK.  Let's talk about that title.  Pure brilliance, because it makes you get your ass into the theater.  But this isn't some lame burlesque show based on Frogger.  This is a troupe of women who can act their asses off.  You forget that they are girls, and just get into their characters, who happen to be dudes.  Doesn't matter.

But let's be honest.  If this was a show called MOBY DICK, and just had a bunch of dudes in it I would have never ever ever seen it and just stayed home and watched Captain America again, because that movie rules.

Erin Orr as Ishmael lures you in with her tortured monologues.  Christy Arington as Stubb is the dirtiest, scariest scalywag this side of The Corsican Brothers.  But then there's Amy FUCKING Harmon as Ahab.  This is a tour de force performance.  Her maniacal pursuit of the white whale infects everything she touches with madness.  She destroys the stage.

John Wilson's minimal design uses every inch of the Mammals Zoo Studios and it is gorgeous and totally cray cray.  Bob Fisher's direction is raw and dangerous, and Fisher and Sara Gorsky's script is cut to the bone and gets to the heart of Melville's tale of tragic hubris.

Plus, Christopher Cross' "Sailing" appears on the pre-show soundtrack.

And guess what?  Here's the exclusive news:  THEY ARE ADDING SHOWS.

These are the remaining dates:

Friday and Saturday May 18th and 19th
Friday and Saturday May 25th and 26th
Friday and Saturday June 1st and 2nd
Friday and Saturday June 8th and 9th

All performances are at 8pm – BYOB

Zoo Studios
4001 N. Ravenswood Ave Ste 205
Chicago, IL 60613
If you don't see this show, then you are a real jerk.  Don't be a jerk!
See some original theater!  Stop wasting your life!
All Girl Moby Dick - A (for ALL HOT ASS GREAT ACTOR GIRLS)
-Eric Roach, Anderson Lawfer

Friday, May 4, 2012

An Open Letter to Sir Chris Jones, of Berkelyfordshire-on-Thames

Dear Sir Or Madame,

After reading your article yesterday on the summer seasons of Chicago Theaters, we were taken aback! For reasons known throughout our fair city, you are seen as a leading figurehead and proponent of Storefront Theatre and in many cases, help set the future for our organizations.

As we all are aware, you are the number one theatrical critic in town, with the boys and girls at the stalwart Time Out Chicago following a distant second. Basically, what you say goes. Like when you said The House was the next big thing and we all said “Yes, of course they are.” And now look at them!

For you to say to the people of our city that there is no good work happening in town during the summer months leaves us all feeling a little confused and lonely. Like a battered child. We are begging for your love and support, and then you talk about how Rock Of Ages is the only thing happening in town and then you call us ugly and leave for a pack of cigarettes in New York and we think you might not ever come back. And then, we would just be left alone with our drunken mother, Hedy Weiss.

We’ve worked so HARD, daddy. Look at just this small example of our clamoring for your approval: Last night, we attended a show at Steep Theatre, a company that you wrote glowing things about in the very recent past. This show was gorgeously designed, beautifully acted, and brilliantly written! And the people there in the audience loved it! But, who cares, when you go and completely ignore the fact that directing hero Jon Berry is taking the reins of their next production MOMENT which has its U.S. premiere on JULY 12th. Isn’t that the summertime, daddy? Isn’t that the summertime?

Not only Steep, but there are dozens of other shows opening during the summer also. Look, the point is, when you write your articles to the masses, and you have the biggest following of any voice in our community, please be our voice! If tourists are coming to town during the summer and are looking for plays, please don’t tell them that they are out of luck. Rather use it as an opportunity to tout the companies that need the touting. If we cannot rely on you for help, then we are all going to fail.

You have what we all want, Sir, and that is glorious, glorious ACCESS. You have an ongoing column and blog on one of the biggest media platforms in the United States. And you just used it to tell everyone that Chicago storefront theatre has been the victim of a 40 megaton blast north of Division Street and it’s just gone. We all died, or are scrambling for leftover cans of hash in the smoky ruins of a Jewel-Osco, fighting off the Griffin Theater Ensemble, who have all mutated into psychic vampires.

Did you know that The Right Brain Project has a show opening with 29 people in it? Saints preserve us, Christopher. If you do not help us, how can we compete against that? They have everyone in their show! If you do not help us bring new visitors into our homes, then the cast of that show will come to your office and eat your British flesh from your body, and there will be a new leading voice in town. His name will be Tom Williams, because he loves us and he carries a gun everywhere he goes.

Speaking of guns, did you have one to your head when you wrote that article? Was it being held by Broadway In Chicago? I bet you pissed in your pants.

They definitely had a gun, because there is no other reason you would forget about us. We might not “know as much” as the actors in Rock Of Ages, and maybe we don’t have the “street cred” that Phylicia Rashad does, but we try so hard for you. Please, man. Please.

We are here for you, so please be here for us,

Eric and Andy

PS - Will you please write a review of Friday Night Smackdown for our blog? We feel like you would have a nice take on today’s wrestling. Plus, The Rock HAS COME BACK! Come on!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Rise Of The Numberless (The New Colony and Bailiwick Chicago)

True Story:
A few years ago, while I was moving, I lost my Social Security card and passport. All I had was my expired driver's license. So when I went to the DMV to get it renewed, they ripped it up in my face and told me that it was illegal to have it. So there I was with 0 identification. I went to get a Social Security card and they told me I needed a photo ID. I went to get a photo ID and they told me I needed a Social Security card.
They told me my one hope to get back into regular society was to get a copy of my high school transcripts sent up form Kentucky, but when I asked for them, the lady on the phone asked me to fax over a copy of my photo id.
So, I went to my Alderman and explained my situation. After about 2 weeks of checking, they told me there was nothing they could do, and that I was on my own.
For 2 years, I lived with no identification besides a birth certificate, because there is no way to receive one piece of paper without having another.
Eventually, I discovered a law that was made for people born in the early 1900's in Mississippi. You see, in a small region of Mississippi, all the old records were held in a church and about 20 years ago, there was a fire. That fire destroyed many people's original birth certificates making it impossible for them to get passports. So Congress passed a law allowing for you to go to a post office and fill out about 10 pieces of paper and take along someone who has known you for more than 5 years who is willing to swear to your identity, and then you can get on a list for possible approval for a passport. But that is the only way. Well, when I explained this to the lady at the post office, she of course had never heard of this law and told me to kindly go fuck myself.
On my second visit, I arrived with papers and mother ready to not take no for an answer. She was persuaded to allow it, after many calls to passport headquarters.
3 years I lived without ID. Off the grid. 3 years of being numberless.

There is an original play going on right now in Chicago by BoxWine Theatre Company called "Rise Of The Numberless: The Anderson Lawfer Story". It is mainly about my rise. It is pretty good, but I am not sure how they got this information from me. Well, I was watching it, and everyone is pretty good in it, but then on the bus ride home, I was flipping through the Red Eye and I heard about  whole separate play in town called "Rise Of The Numberless" which apparently had nothing to do with the play about me at all!

Well, this I had to see!

Rise Of The Numberless is co-produced by 2 extremely popular companies in town. The New Colony, known for their devised work and college kid go-get-em-ness and The Bailiwick Chicago, known to us older gentlemen as a place for straight guys to get naked on stage for gay guys. I don't think Bailiwick is like that anymore, but let us never forget our past lest we repeat it.

This play is about this group of roustabouts and tramps who cruise through the USA telling their story of how they became these vagrant bums.

Turns out, they live in the future where there is a one child law. Except instead of penalizing the parents, like how they do in China, they penalize the kids by sending them down the river like Moses. But these Moseses don't become Kings of Jews or build any arks. These Moseses play rock and roll music and bang each other like high schoolers!


See, all the regular people have these computer chips in their arms, and that is how you know who is legit and who isn't, because this gang of Walkalongs don't have any chips. They got nothing but the shirts on their backs and the glam rock makeup on their faces.

Now we learn that there are groups, or "pods" of numberless people all over the country but we stay with the Washington DC Pod for the whole show. I wish we got to see other pods, because I bet the Catskills Pod wears big bowties and tells old jokes. I bet the Branson Pod gets a lot of visitors with their Jesus loving country music shows!

But this DC Pod is ok, too.

So, this pod has been accused of assassinating the President of the United States, I think. Or they were accused? No, I think they are accused of it. So they are trying to get their story out to the masses that they aren't terrorists, but rather, your brothers and sisters. They are part of your family and all they want is to see you again and be loved. Also, they want to sing in tight harmonies and put on plays!

Now, I am a big fan of The Temptations and The Four Tops, and I have to tell you that if you are going to spend all this time on your tight harmonies, it wouldn't kill you to add a few dance moves. You know who else has dance moves with their tight harmonies? The Detroit Pod.

The music in this show is great. It's a little bit Hedwig, a little bit Dark Side Pink Floyd, and a little bit Scissor Sisters. Basically, it's everything you want to hear.

It was written by some dude with a ponytail and this lady I think. They can't give you press packets because they are on the run from the law, but I saw those 2 people there, so I will assume they wrote it.

The cast is supreme. All of them can sing, and they move around the way you want a cast to move. They work as a group, like a recently oiled, grubby, post apocalyptic clock.

Since there were no names for the actors in the program, I will have to do my best with telling you whom I thought were stand outs.

The incredible Nikki Klix plays the stage manager of the show, I think? But she is also an actor in the show within the show, too. She has the best hair for rocking. Her voice soars like a California Condor above the bleak desert in California. The frightful Mexican wrestler-ish Aaron Alonso plays this guy with a top hat that that is very watchable, mainly because you always want to keep track of your belongings around Mexicans, but also because he as this super live energy that is fun and playful. It is very important to be playful in times like these.

There is also the trifecta of excitement with Michael Peters as an ex-football star, Danny Taylor as a white lipped Temptress, and Michael Harnichar as a guy who is maybe not real? I'm not sure what the story was with him. I think his character is only in someone's imagination or something. He was good, though, real or not.

If you get caught up wondering about the story, you will lose track of what is so cool about this show. It is total immersion, from the moment you walk to the building till the time you leave.

This is what Chicago Theatre is supposed to be. Gritty, punkrock, in your face, Guerilla style Art that makes your hair stand up on your neck and your balls shrink up into your abdomen. Or your vagina.

I loved it because it made me inspired.

I felt like I saw something that was new and interesting and arresting.

We all need to see and perform in shows like this, so we don't forget why we decided to join this stupid industry in the first place.

They have booze there, too.


-Anderson Lawfer, Eric Roach