Show closings – last chance to see them!

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Show Closings

“Master Harold”…and the Boys TimeLine Theatre

The Fantasticks Promethean Theatre

Jerry and Tom Idle Muse Theatre

The Legend of Ginger Bred Gorilla Tango Theatre

Monks in Trouble Apollo Theatre (Studio space)

Off the Paddy Wagon Cornservatory

Policeman’s Log Gorilla Tango Theatre

The Ring Cycle The Building Stage

Tim Miller’s Lay of the Land Victory Gardens Biograph Theater

 

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special ticket offers

Sunday is "Pay-What-You-Can" Night at Bailiwick Chicago’s Show Us Your Love! Doors open at 7:00 p.m., show at 7:30 p.m. Come on up to Mary’s Attic and donate what you can to see the show. Stay after with the cast/production staff for a drink and karaoke! Playing at Mary’s Attic (above Hamburger Mary’s), 5400 N. Clark St (Andersonville), Chicago. Visit www.bailiwickchicago.com

$1-2 off tickets to LiveWire Chicago Theatre’s world premiere Lower Debt by Joshua Aaron Weinstein at the Viaduct Theater, 3111 N. Western Ave. Join LiveWire and the Greater Chicago Food Depository in the fight against hunger by helping us collect nutritious non-perishable food items during the run of Debt (through April 4, Thu-Sat at 7:30 p.m. and Sun at 3:00 p.m.). Bring in one can and receive $1 off your ticket price; bring two or more cans and receive $2 off your ticket price. Cans collected at the door. Call the box office at 773.296.6024 to make your reservation. More at www.livewirechicago.com/lowerdebt.

       

REVIEW: Agamemnon (Dream Theatre)


“Agamemnon” is a harbinger of good things to come
 
agamemnon4
Dream Theatre presents:
 
Agamemnon
 
Written/Directed by Jeremy Menekseoglu
at
Dream Theatre, 556 W. 18th Street (map)
through April 11th (more info | tickets)
 
reviewed by Ian Epstein 

Though it might fool you, Dream Theatre’s Agamemnon is not nearly as dusty as, judging by its title, it seems.  Artistic Director Jeremy Menekseoglu dons his actor/writer hat in this show as both the playwright and the male lead in the role of the homeward bound Greek title character: Agamemnon.  Menekseoglu’s is a retelling of Agamemnon’s homecoming.  It is told from a decidedly claustrophobic point of view that recasts Aeschlyus’ tragedy as a nautical No Exit played out between Agamemnon and a feisty, fluid-moving Cassandra (Courtney Arnett) who Agamemnon has found agamemnon3molested by one of his own Greek soldiers in the temple of Athena.  He offs the soldier and sets out to seduce Cassandra in the confines and comfort of his General’s berth on board his Greece-bound ship.   

Cassandra is the prophet no one believes or she’s a notable slave or she’s spill-over Trojan war spoils – this is the Cassandra to whom Apollo gave prophecy and the unfortunate condition that no one will believe what she foretells, so she stumbles forward into a future she can plainly predict, only able to retell her sad and tattered past.  Her predicament is made worse by the fact that the sea drowns out her gift and leaves her reeling like just another drunk sailor at sea. In one of the plays intense, narrative monologues (there are several), Cassandra paints the traumatic picture of her six year old self, whisked off by an Apollo with questionable motives.

The play is an examination of Stockholm syndrome – where a captive falls in love with or takes the side of the captor – as much as it’s an exercise in mining one of Aeschylus’ classical dramatic texts for something relevant to audience’s today. And Dream Theatre is big on starting this experience the moment you step through the door.  Members from the Chorus of Cassandra (Anna Weiler, Alicia Reese, and Molly Gray) greet all theatre-goers speaking a heightened language and looking like they’re on loan from the underworld.  They solicit the audience member with mandatory chocolate candies then ask which show they’ve come to see before insisting that they’ve come to see Cassandra and not that other one. 

Giau Truong and Anna Weiler collaborated on the set, and the effort shows in intricate, room-filling attention to decaying, wooden detail that evokes a nautical, underwater feel. Jeremy Menekseoglu also has his imprimatur on the sound design, which illustrates what the inside of a prophet’s mind sounds like with nail-biting, wince-inducing clarity.  At other times, the sound design mimics fuzzy agamemnon6 radio, with American dance music filtering through the air-waves and into Agamemnon’s regal berth.  Agememnon tries to impress his captive audience by dancing a sloppy, drunken Black Bottom.  Unimpressed, Cassandra whips out a performance-perfect Charleston that knocks Agamemnon on his ass.  "Where’d you learn to dance like that?" he asks – "Delphi" she replies.

On the whole, Agamemnon is an odd and oddly fresh performance that hits intriguing notes. Menekseoglu and Arnett both deliver performances admirable in their intensity. It’s intimate and foreign; funny one moment and then frightening the next. It uses melodrama as a technique and not by accident.   But the blend of heightened language with profanity and everyday speech still gets in the way.  The attempts at many of the poetic moments feel overdone, prosaic, and closer to the 2,500 year old source-text than most moments in the rest of the show.  A trait that may make the show a fuller experience for dramaphiles already familiar with the myth that Menekseoglu is molding.

As a first installment, Agamemnon is a harbinger of good things to come.  It will certainly be exciting to watch as Menekseoglu steers the Dream ensemble through the next two plays of his Agon Trilogy. (see performance dates fore next 2 parts of trilogy after the fold.)

 
Rating: ★★★
 

agamemnon2 

  

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Wednesday Wordplay: Shirley MacLain’s anger, the origin of see-saw, and Rita Dove’s poetry

Fun and Inspirational Quotes

I’m not crazy…I’ve just been in a very bad mood for 40 years.
            — Shirley MacLaine

Enjoyment is not a goal, it is a feeling that accompanies important ongoing activity.
            — Paul Goodman

The words that enlighten the soul are more precious than jewels.
            — Hazrat Inayat Khan

There ain’t no free lunches in this country. And don’t go spending your whole life commiserating that you got raw deals. You’ve got to say, ‘I think that if I keep working at this and want it bad enough I can have it.’
            — Lee Iacocca

To accomplish great things, we must dream as well as act.
            — Anatole France

You have succeeded in life when all you really want is only what you really need.
            — Vernon Howard

One must also accept that one has ‘uncreative’ moments. The more honestly one can accept that, the quicker these moments will pass.
            — Etty Hillesum

Greatness is more than potential. It is the execution of that potential. Beyond the raw talent. You need the appropriate training. You need the discipline. You need the inspiration. You need the drive.
            — Eric A. Burns, Gossamer Commons, 08-12-05

He felt about books as doctors feel about medicines, or managers about plays – cynical, but hopeful.
            — Dame Rose Macaulay, Crewe Train, 1926

I must study politics and war that my sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy. My sons ought to study mathematics and philosophy, geography, natural history, naval architecture, navigation, commerce, and agriculture, in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture, statuary, tapestry, and porcelain.
 
           — John Adams

It’s always been about the experience of life and of not being passive. If something so excites my curiosty, I want to go there, be a part of whatever it is that’s either pushing me or pulling me toward it. That desire for experience has made me very rich in life experience.
            — Tish Grier, love and hope and sex and dreams, 04-12-2006

Some days you’re a bug, some days you’re a windshield.
            — Price Cobb

When you can’t have what you want, it’s time to start wanting what you have.
            — Kathleen A. Sutton

You miss 100% of the shots your never take.
            — Wayne Gretzky


 

POETRY: "Black On A Saturday Night" Rita Dove

 


 From World Wide Words:

 

Q: What is the origin of the word “see-saw”

Aside: I’ve always thought “see-saw” was so named because of what happens when you’re on it – when you’re in the high position, you can see an object, and when you’re in the low position, when you can no longer see the object, you then say you saw the item.  (I actually was told this by a relative).  I realize that I was (gasp) wrong! 

ANSWER: The term “see-saw” was first mentioned in a play by Richard Brome, The Antipodes, first performed in 1638. Later references support the idea that it may have been part of a chant, a work song, used by pairs of sawyers to keep their rhythm while alternately pulling a big two-handled saw. They might have been working on the level or they could have been pit-sawing, with one man above the other.

Brome’s version of the chant goes “see saw, sacke a downe”, while another from about 1685 records “see saw, sack a day”. A third is in another play the following century, Gammer Gurton’s Garland, as “See Saw, sacaradown, / Which is the way to London town?” With this example it had turned into a children’s rhyme, with a version of another rhyme, “See-saw, Margery Daw”, turning up in the same play.

Nobody knows when the playground see-saw was invented. The evidence from language is very late, with the first explicit references not found before the early nineteenth century. But so basic a play toy must surely be very much older. Iona and Peter Opie conjecture in The Oxford Book of Nursery Rhymes that it may have arisen through children watching sawyers at work and borrowing a plank and a log to play out their up-and-down motion. But this must surely be no more than a guess based on its links with saw.

The device certainly predates the word see-saw, which is the successor to another reduplicated term — the one you mentioned that some Americans have retained — the splendid teeter-totter. Various spellings of it are recorded, one being the East Anglian teeter-cum-tauter and another titter-totter. The latter is the oldest known version, which is first recorded in John Palsgrave’s Lesclarcissement de la Langue Françoyse of 1530. In that, it’s given as the English equivalent of the old French balenchoeres (now balançoire), from balancer, to balance.

Two men sawing a fallen tree with a two-handled saw

 

Might this have been the origin of see-saw? These two men are sawing a fallen tree using a two-handled saw.

 

 

 

 

Q: How is it that “lbs” is the abbreviation for “pounds”?

Answer:  Actually, “lbs” isn’t an abbreviation of “pounds”. It’s shorthand for “pounds weight” but isn’t an abbreviation of the word pounds.

The form lb is actually an abbreviation of the Latin word libra, which could mean a pound, itself a shortened form of the full expression, libra pondo, “pound weight”. The second word of this phrase, by the way, is the origin of the English pound.

One symbol for the astrological sign LibraYou will also know Libra as the astrological sign, the seventh sign of the zodiac. In classical times that name was given to rather an uninspiring constellation, with no particularly bright stars in it. It was thought to represent scales or a balance, the main sense of libra in Latin, which is why it is often accompanied by the image of a pair of scales.

 

Find other great word and phrase facts at World Wide Words.