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Showing posts from November, 2014

The Tempest

The Tempest by Shakespeare adapted and directed by Taesuk Oh produced by Mokwha Repertory Company presented by La MaMa
Mokwha Repertory Theater is a Korean company founded by Taesuk Oh that combines the techniques of traditional Korean theater with contemporary Western theater. They recently presented an adaptation of The Tempest at LaMaMa directed by Oh. It's a fascinating production with a novel approach and terrific techniques.
It's best to forget about the Shakespearean text when watching this production and to enjoy it as a fable. It's much abridged, brief at 90 minutes. The three plot lines are there, but only the Ferdinand-Miranda story has a focus.
The text is more a riff on Shakespeare than a translation. The King of Naples becomes The Dragon King (and magic comes from his fan). The lines allude to Confucius and "the Buddhist saints" - and use the word "like" (as in "I mean").
The play is presented in Korean with English surtitles. The stage…

Chicago City Limits

Chicago City Limits directed by Joe DeGise II and Paul Zuckerman with Joe DeGise II Linda Gelman
Stefan Schick Paul Zuckerman
Improv comedy can be very dicey. When it’s bad… well, there’s not much that’s worse. The group Chicago City Limits, however, is very good. They’re a troupe of smart and clever actors. We the audience are often laughing and nearly always smiling.
You know the form: sketches are taken from audience suggestions. We come up with the specifics of each one within a frame the cast gives us. Four actors presented a lively set of pieces on the evening I attended. To name a few:
The audience constructed a round of Jeopardy. We named the categories (such as poisonous Australian animals) as well as the answers. We also chose the professions of the contestants. The three actors in the scene created the characters with great aplomb and responded to the answers (you know the Jeopardy style, I assume) with ingenuity.
Another scene was named East River Anthology. It was based, of cour…

Out of their Minds

Out of their Minds by David Willinger produced by New Media Repertory Co. directed by Miranda McDermott
I’ll bet you didn’t know that in the late 1920’s, in Paris, Samuel Beckett was James Joyce’s assistant. David Willinger has made this circumstance the subject of a play, Out of their Minds, which has been produced by The New Media Repertory Co. Plays based on actual people, of course, risk putting mere icons on stage, but WIllinger shows us real people whom we care about.
During the period of his employment Beckett became involved with Joyce’s daughter Lucia. More to the point, Willinger tells us, she threw herself at him. The play implies that they became engaged without consulting her parents. Lucia, at any rate, was committed to a psychiatric institution after Beckett left Joyce’s employment, where she spent the rest of her life. We learn about this after the fact; what we see of her insanity is an uncontrolled manic episode that occurs when Beckett tells her that his attentions…