Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Mikado (The Hypocrites) John Taflan

As some day it may happen that an opera must be viewed,
Put this one on your list:
Mikado by the ‘crites.
A fantastic compilation of the bawdy and skewed
In a promenade-y mist
(and there’s booze, if you insist).

Just enter Chopin’s basement and you’ll join a festive throng,
Whose tendency to strum and strut makes right from so much wrong.
(By “wrong” I mean your standard theatre most often passes
As arguments o’er kitchen sinks, four walls, and seats for asses.)
But never mind my bitching, Go!  This play should not be missed.
Put your name upon the list,
(Something something) coexist.

Put your name upon the list!
(Something something) coexist!
In their audience, enlist.
I think you get the gist.

There’s Casey--that’s her family name--and little Shawny Pfautsch
Both pulling double shifts
(That almost rhymed with “list”).
Singing/acting all while playing isn’t for your common slouch,
But two parts each?  That kissed?
A fine quadruple tryst.

When Kahler speaks you cannot help but laugh until you keen.
And Rob McLean was being quite especially Rob McLean…you know what I mean.
Both Bourque and Pawlik’s spunk (along with Schroeder’s) is in season,
And of the girls, I’ll mention Dana Omar for no reason.
Forgive me, Becky and Christine, for I could not resist.
It’s another brilliant twist
From the awesome Hypocrites.

It’s another brilliant twist!
From the awesome Hypocrites!
Sean and Kevin still persist.

The Mikado:  A

-John Taflan

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The Black Ship Co. is the NEXT BIG THING!

In our lives, we have seen so many theatre companies come and go. Some with great fanfare like Defiant, and some with only a whisper, like Birdbrain Theatre Company.

We loved Birdbrain’s all Asian homosexual take on Oklahoma. Risky. “Okrahomo” was ahead of it’s time.

But what happens in our lovely bubble when a company comes along, does two shows and 1 YouTube video and literally no one has ever heard of them?

Usually, they die a horrible and quick death in the basement of the Athenaeum, but this one...this time it is different because a theatre company has come along and stolen our hearts and imaginations. We have never been as excited for a new theatre company to prove themselves as we are with...

THE BLACK SHIP CO. At least that’s what we think they are called.

Their website doesn’t really describe much of anything, but there are pictures of guys with cardboard swords and blanket capes and the font is pretty awesome.

After reading a third of their website, the back of one of their postcards, and watching the first 45 seconds of their YouTube video, we were convinced. The Black Ship Co. is about to go supernova all over Chicago’s sweet, sweet ass!

Who are these people?
Remember how The House came along and everyone went crazy? And then Strange Tree came and everyone was like “These guys are like the new House except more character based”? Well, we are here to tell you that Black Ship Co. is the new Strange Tree except more blanket based.

We’ve been waiting for a theatre company to come along that seems like they are nice, and not just a bunch of dicks like The Dick Theater Company. Fuck those dudes.

And to prove to you how nice they are, we are gonna ask The Black Ship Co. to have a night where all Chicago Theatre people can come and see their play. We think that would be very fair of them.

Do you think they will even read this?

You know that they will. We are kingmakers and insane secessionists who believe that Obama is controlling the mole people who live in the subways.

So if you see the Black Ship Co. around town, please let them know that we are looking for them because we have never even met them or anything, but we are pretty sure that they are going to be the best theatre in town.

We love you Black Shape Inc.! We know that you are Chicago’s wake up call! Now, give us your women!

You have 24 hours to respond to this blog post or you will indefinitely lose our favor and thus destroying your future successes and standing in this community, Block Shin Corp.


SHOW YOUR FACES, BLACK SHIP!!!! Or we will board you like Somalian pirates. And then leave you in shambles, scurrying to pick up your crayons and sniff markers.

Please just respond to us. We are sorry we said those things.

Oh, baby, you know how we get at the’s a mink stole and an Escalade, my sweetness.

Just think about it ok?

A+ (if you respond in 24 hours)

-Eric Roach & Anderson Lawfer & Black Ship Co.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Macbeth: As The Dust Settles - TheMASSIVE (dance/theater review)

TheMASSIVE’s Macbeth: As the Dust Settles places the tragedy in the devastated and barren American Dust Bowl. As director and TheMASSIVE’s Executive Artistic Director Kyle Vincent Terry writes in his Director’s Note, “In feudal Scotland, the push was for control of land, as land is power. But, what denotes power when the land is barren?” Quite a question, I thought, piqued by how this production would use Macbeth to provoke ideas about mankind’s lust for power, even when there is little to behold.

The characterization of the Weird Sisters is something I often look forward to when sitting down to Macbeth, and TheMASSIVE’s ghoulish ladies (Alain Sharp, Grace Desant, Jennifer Becker, Jenny Maceika, Kate Puckett and Katie Burrows) are intrusively eerie and alluring. The 7 raven-haired “Ghost Dancers” - all near the same height, their skin the same pallid tone - shriek like banshees in a tribal keening over their lost men, and then cackle and hiss as they deliver their notorious prophesy for Macbeth. The Ghost Dancers quickly establish themselves as a catalyst for the misery and destruction of those vying for power.

Enter Macbeth (Shawn Wilson), a Yukon Cornelius type who doesn’t seem to want to hurt a fly, but an Everyman who just wants to get home after a long day of work for a shot of whiskey, chunk of brisket and to listen to his stories on a transistor radio. Baffled by his foretold greatness, he approaches the well-to-do, magnanimous Duncan (Kyle Vincent Terry) with a kind of cautious reverence, aware of what malicious deeds he must achieve to fulfill his destiny. Duncan’s wealth and status in Scott City - coveted by all and the lynchpin for Macbeth and his Lady’s ambitions - is left undefined and vague, as we are not in Scotland fighting over reign, but in Scott City, Kansas in the 1930’s Dust Bowl. Still, our suspension of disbelief allows us to feel the tension, especially with Aila Peck as the relentlessly venomous Lady Macbeth, her style and demeanor capturing both the 1930s era as well as the classic Lady-Macbeth-spiral-into-insanity we all anxiously await.

As stated in his director’s note, Kyle Vincent Terry seeks to explore how “abject poverty often leads to the proliferation of two things, crime and religion” - and his re-imagining of Macbeth certainly strikes those two chords. Throughout the play, Hecate (Raquel Adorno) saunters about, raising her Bible, singing melancholic hymns, her gutteral voice harkening us back to sinister revivalist religion. Pair that with the grainy sound of body after body dragged along a dirt-covered stage and you got yourself some real ambiance. Replacing bloodshed with mud and sand, Terry makes visceral the foul filth of corruption in a desperate futile town.

True to Shakespearean form, things get wild in Act III. When Macbeth meets up to conspire against Banquo (Niall McGinty) - we see the ginger-bearded, bald-headed Yukon Cornelius suddenly turn into Walter White, Season 3 of Breaking Bad - the mad, tortured criminal with everything at stake. Naturally, I started to view the rest of the performance through this lense, particularly the legendary banquet scene when Banquo’s ghost rises and Lady Macbeth/Skylar White struggles to contain her deranged husband. The second half of the performance is riddled with rich moments - Lady Macduff (Mary-Kate Arnold) struggling for her life against the stoic-yet-vicious Lennox (David Russell), Malcom (Michael Allen Harris) conspiring with Macduff (Michael Jay Bullaro) - both with such casual, conversational Shakespearean delivery, while a co-conspirator sits alongside peeling a hard-boiled egg and belching. And of course, the climactic riling up of the whole gang to raise hell against Macbeth and reclaim Malcom’s reign.

I left the theatre tossing over all sorts of questions, and wishing TheMASSIVE had fleshed out the 1930’s Dust Bowl context to connect and supplement the traditional text, as the clamoring for power, security and right to live resounds tremendously from that era. Far from a Shakespeare purist, I am intrigued when theatre companies such as TheMASSIVE transpose his plays to resonate with modern audiences, and I look forward to seeing more bold choices from this innovative company.

-Elizabeth Schmeski

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Why You Should Vote For Mitt Romney

I know what you’re thinking just from the title:

Why would these guys vote for Mitt Romney? Why would they try to convince others to do the same?

Well, it’s a pretty simple reason, actually. Over these past couple years, we have been so over exposed to this man, to this American Leader, to continuously hear what he stands for and what he lies about, it has become extremely challenging to not have an opinion of his supporters.

So, unless you are a multimillionaire, why would you vote for Mitt Romney? There are 2 reasons.

#1 is because you haven’t taken the time to learn anything about the candidates, and he has a relaxing and confident demeanor. Mitt has used rhetoric that is nice to hear and promises to “bring manufacturing jobs” back to America!

#2 is because you are a horrible racist.

You might say, “Well maybe I will vote for Mitt because I am a fiscal conservative, I think we are spending too freely and we should leave much of these issues up to the individual states!”

You might say that. In 1988, you might say that.

But let us propose a NEW reason for your vote for Mitt Romney!

If you are reading this blog, you are undoubtedly under 60 years old, and will survive (God willing) for another 4 years without any major health scares.

So if Mitt wins, what will happen to your family?

Well, you will probably incur some health care bills, and your taxes and gasoline will probably slightly rise with inflation. You will probably be just fine. Nothing will go too crazy for you or your way of life.

BUT, for the elderly people who vote for him? The people who have voted against their own well being because they simply cannot stand the site of a Black Muslim as the POTUS?
They will not be well. They will be denied coverage for their throat cancer. They will pay $40,000 a year for their diabetes medicine. Their houses will be taken from them by the same states they wanted to give power to, and will be denied a stay in the last-resort-state-run nursing home, because it has simply become too expensive for them and their families.

The manufacturing jobs these people have been waiting for will never return, leaving these poor uneducated white people without prospects or any life skills to help them obtain a steady income or any avenue to a more hopeful future. They will say how they have been “lied to” and that they thought the millionaire country singers had their best interests at heart.

While they have been denied any access to the medicine they now need to counter the growing throat tumor that has slowly started closing their esophagus, they will wander the streets in their diabetic blindness, looking for a handout from a compassionate person. They will duck in to the last remaining Mom and Pop pharmacy or small business grocery store, asking for help of any kind.

“Anything you can do for me, friend, will be greatly appreciated.”  

But they will not have any friends and it would have been greatly appreciated, but helping others is finished in America. They will need to steal some leaves or tire rubber from the City Garbage Fire to try to keep themselves warm from the night and to hide out from the drifting Rape Gangs that are looking for a nubile young woman to impregnate. (Now that abortion has been outlawed in all cases, Rape Gangs have become the only affordable health care providers for women under 40. But they still like to rape old ladies, too.)

As our elderly Romney fan hides out from these Rape Gangs for the night, sleeping in the gutter that their Grandparents built with taxpayer dollars, their breathing will start to slow down and soon, they will die alone in the cold cold air, surrounded by no one. Stubborn in the fact that they made the right decision because the nice men on FoxNews, the ones who have their best interest at heart and $2000 suits, have told them so.

They will die in the gutter, and with the new privatized waste system, their body will decay until they are unidentifiable. The only clue for one of our last 4 publicly paid detectives will be the EpiPen from 2 years ago, and a Romney/Ryan 2012 bumper sticker that could have gone on the car they couldn’t afford.

So if you are like me, and you have dealt with images of these Tea Partiers chanting in the streets about Communism and Freedom and Liberty and Supporting Our Troops, then you are probably ready to watch these poor old pieces of trash die extremely painful deaths as well.

So go out there and vote for Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan so the people that have been voting against their own interests will finally get what they deserve:

To die alone in the privatized streets like the worthless mindless hillbillies they are!

-Anderson Lawfer, Eric Roach