Interrobang Theatre Project, one of Chicago's most promising young theater companies, has announced plans for its fourth season, to be presented entirely at the Athenaeum Theatre. The 2013–14 slate opens with a new production of Mark O'Rowe's Terminus, a collection of interlocking monologues that was previously seen in a 2011 performance by Dublin's Abbey Theatre at the Museum of Contemporary Art. Interrobang's production will star Christina Hall, Michaela Petro and Kevin Barry Crowley (September 12–October 6).
That's followed in the new year by The Pitchfork Disney, the surreal, dark fairy tale by Mercury Fur playwright Philip Ridley that's credited with kickstarting the "in-yer-face" era of British drama. The cast is set to include Andrew Goetten, Aislinn Kerchaer, Mark Lancaster and Josh Salt (February 6–March 2). Both Terminus and The Pitchfork Disney will be directed by Jeffry Stanton. The season closes with a new adaptation of Ibsen's A Doll's House by Chicago playwright Calamity West, directed by James Yost (May 8–June 8); casting remains to be announced.
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In the midst of a 35th anniversary year that's seen performances of Mats Ek’s brilliant Casi-Casa, Alejandro Cerrudo’s monumental One Thousand Pieces, and the one-of-a-kind collaboration between HSDC and Alonzo King’s LINES Ballet this spring, Hubbard Street has announced its 2013–14 lineup. The focus for season 36: Hubbard Street’s international Fab Five, with additional surprises in the mix.
October 10–13, former HSDC dancer and rising choreographer Robyn Mineko Williams presents a new work for the company, along with Ek’s Casi-Casa and Ohad Naharin’s Passomezzo. Rounding out the programs is the “Compass” quintet from Alonzo King’s AZIMUTH.
The winter program, December 12–15, features an encore presentation of Cerrudo’s deftly crafted One Thousand Pieces, the company’s first evening-length work, set to music by Philip Glass and using members of the main company and dancers from Hubbard Street 2.
March 13–16, it’s all about two-time Prix Benois de la Danse–winner Jirí Kylián. The bill includes two premieres for HSDC: Sarabande—set for an all-male ensemble—and Falling Angels for an all-female cast of eight. Returning fare: the enigmatic 27'52'' and the sensuous audience-favorite Petite Mort.
Season 36 concludes June 5–8, with Nacho Duato’s Gnawa, created for the company in 2005, and William Forsythe’s daring Quintett. Capping things off is a world premiere from resident choreographer Alejandro Cerrudo, his 13th for the company.
As usual, all performances happen at the Harris Theater for Music and Dance (205 E Randolph Dr).
Subscriptions to season 36 are available beginning April 9. Single-ticket availability will be announced at a later date. For more info, contact the Hubbard Street Box Office at 312-850-9774, or visit hubbardstreetdance.com/36.
Gnit, the last play I saw Sunday afternoon at the 37th Humana Festival, is classic Will Eno. By that, I mean I was thrilled by it, but another critic seated in front of me loudly declared it "shit" before walking out at intermission. The premiere is helmed by Actors Theatre of Louisville artistic director Les Waters, who directed Eno's similarly divisive Middletown at Steppenwolf in 2011. Eno's latest is a loose comic adaptation of Ibsen's unwieldy Peer Gynt, itself based on Norwegian folklore. Ibsen's Peer is the son of a man ruined by his indulgences, who rather than face his own reality and responsibilities travels the world aimlessly in search of meaning. Eno's Peter Gnit (Dan Waller) is similarly abdicative; he explains the origin of his surname as being a typo the family just came to accept.
Roger Ebert was remembered Sunday as a loving and devoted husband and an extraordinary friend who enriched, inspired and uplifted all those around him.
More than 200 close friends and family members gathered in the chapel of Graceland Cemetery for a private visitation and a chance to share their remembrances of the beloved film critic and media trailblazer who died at 70 Thursday after a long battle with cancer.
“Roger never acted superior to anyone. But the truth is, he was a king — and he was my prince,” said his wife, Chaz, who began the impromptu tributes with her reflections on their life together and on Roger’s final days.
The final weekend of the 37th Humana Festival here at Actors Theatre of Louisville coincides with Louisville's appearance in the Final Four—"the men's and the women's teams," a charming local theater supporter pressed upon me at a Thursday night cocktail party held to welcome the visiting industry professionals and press. She lamented (jokingly, I think) that I'd likely be seeing a play when the Cardinals face off against the Wichita State Shockers tonight.
Yet downtown Louisville seems nearly as proud of its theater this weekend as its college basketball teams. "Enjoy the Humana Festival," a security guard at my hotel said Friday upon noticing my red lanyard. And the energy created by the mixing of industry types and eager locals is enjoyable indeed, even if my first day's offerings were decidedly mixed.
On the night Gene Siskel died, Roger Ebert and I spent an hour on the phone together, talking about the loss of our dear friend and lamenting that we never knew how gravely ill he was.
There was no question that Roger respected Gene’s decision to keep the extent of his illness private. But it saddened Roger that he was never able to reach out to Gene in a meaningful way at the end. Just weeks earlier, Gene had told us he was taking an indefinite leave of absence, but was in a hurry to get well “because I don’t want Roger to get more screen time than I.” We both believed he’d be back.
I’ll never know for sure, but I always suspected that Roger’s experience with Gene had a lot to do with how open and forthright he chose to be about his own health problems in the years that followed. He shared everything. Even when some of those closest to him discouraged him from showing his disfigured face in public, Roger set vanity aside and moved forward with courage and grace that inspired us all.
Roger Ebert influenced more moviegoers than any film critic who ever lived and, it seems safe to say, more than any who ever will. Those of us who thought he’d somehow never stop his unrivaled, 300-review-per-year output should take solace in the fact that he kept it up until nearly the end—announcing a “leave of presence” just two days before his death, at 70, from cancer, a disease he battled with a candor few would have such courage to show in public.
I've just touched down in Louisville, Kentucky, for the final weekend of Actors Theatre of Louisville's 37th annual Humana Festival of New American Plays, which I'll be reporting back on here.
It's the first year of the festival under ATL's new artistic director, Les Waters, whose most recent work in Chicago was the 2011 premiere of Will Eno's Middletown at Steppenwolf, in a production that found a spot on my top-ten list for that year. Waters and Eno reunite at Humana for Gnit, with a cast that features Chicago actors Dan Waller and Linda Kimbrough.
Also among the six plays I'll be seeing this weekend are O Guru Guru Guru, or why I don't want to go to yoga class with you by Mallery Avidon, an artistic associate with Chicago's Pavement Group, and Appropriate by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, a coproduction with Victory Gardens Theater that will open the fall season at the Biograph. It's directed by Chicago Shakespeare Theater associate artistic director Gary Griffin. The weekend is rounded out by new works from Jeff Augustin and Sam Marks, a collaborative piece by Rinne Groff, Lucas Hnath and Anne Washburn, a slate of ten-minute plays by Sarah Ruhl and others, and discussions and conversations with dozens of industry professionals from across the country. Check back here throughout the weekend for updates.