Articles tagged with: TimeLine Theatre
Review: There is one great scene and another that’s at least charming in Hansol Jung’s play “Cardboard Piano,” now occupying the stage at TimeLine Theatre. But all told, this dramatic parable about the intolerance of homosexuality in Uganda limps from adolescent fantasy to a second act that is more contrived than compelling. ★★
Review: Adam is a boy, age maybe 20. So you’re thinking, OK, if he’s 20, he’s more man than boy. Exactly. But for Adam, in Anna Ziegler’s play “Boy,” getting to manhood meant first establishing his boyhood – or boyness, if you like. And that is both the most engaging and the most problematic part of this drama now on the boards at TimeLine Theatre. ★★★
Interview: When you’re playing the sixth wife of the notorious spouse-disposing English King Henry VIII, says AnJi White, the resolve to survive comes mixed with the question of how. Analyzing her own grand and yet vulnerable portrayal of Catherine Parr, in Kate Hennig’s “The Last Wife” at TimeLine Theatre, White says she pursues a nightly answer to the riddle of endurance with a royal husband who holds her life in his palm, and who will brook neither challenge nor collaboration.
Review: If you’d care to see what absolute power wielded by a single individual looks like, and what a scary thing that is, look no further than Steve Pickering’s iron-fisted incarnation of Henry VIII in the U.S. premiere of Kate Hennig’s “The Last Wife” at TimeLine Theatre. And in the same frame, so to speak, behold the precarious life of the title character, Katherine Parr, a brilliant woman (played to her full measure by AnJi White) who matches the king in wit, imagination and perhaps even ambition. ★★★★★
Review: Maude is middle-aged, recently fired from her job as a bar tender and living alone in a dumpy trailer decorated with other people’s discarded junk. But one such piece of refuse is a painting that could be an original Jackson Pollock. That’s the starting point of Stephen Sachs’ play “Bakersfield Mist,” a two-hander at TimeLine Theatre starring a pair of Chicago’s best actors, who between them cannot bring this half-baked drama to much purpose. ★★
Review: Nina’s life is nowhere. She’s a twentysomething black girl with no real prospects, living in a dumpy apartment and attached – emotionally, financially, perhaps forcibly – to a tough but needy dude with great dreams and no solid plan. Then who should pop back into her tenuous world but her dad, she would say dad in name only, once a big player in the black power movement and recently released from prison. The old man wants something. Nina just wants him out. That’s the setup for Dominique Morisseau’s taut, gritty, redemptive play “Sunset Baby,” in a blistering account at TimeLine Theatre. ★★★★
Second in a series of season previews: Surveying the scheme of plays, actors and directors for TimeLine Theatre’s 2015-16 season, its 19th, artist director PJ Powers’ voice fills with palpable excitement. The company’s opener, Arthur Miller’s “The Price,” observes the playwright’s 100th birth year – and it stars Chicago’s living legend, Mike Nussbaum, who’s not far behind Miller on that time line.
Review: Family: the human comedy at its most hysterical. And I’m not talking about television sitcoms. I mean the authentically bizarre brand of familial farce that resonates through Richard Nelson’s quartet of Apple family plays, two of which are now on contrasting display at TimeLine Theatre. Directed by Louis Contey, “That Hopey Changey Thing” and “Sorry” are the first and third in Nelson’s Apple series. Each offers us a virtual chair at the table with four adult siblings and their elderly uncle as they confront family issues and stew over America’s political prospects in the time frame from November 2010 to November 2013. ★★ / ★★★★
Second in a series of season previews: Ask TimeLine Theatre artistic director PJ Powers what’s new this season, and you’ll get a one-word answer: everything. TimeLine will present three Chicago premieres at its intimate Wellington Avenue home and a fourth, Aaron Posner’s “My Name Is Asher Lev,” will open the season in the company’s auxiliary space at Stage 773.
Review: Sean O’Casey’s colorful play “Juno and the Paycock,” about a poor family’s bit of luck in strife-torn Ireland, has enjoyed unstinting popularity since its premiere in 1924. But when Marc Blitzstein turned it into a musical in 1959, the show flopped and has never recovered. TimeLine Theatre’s ambitious revival demonstrates why. Review: ★
Review: Rachel Hardeman is 28 years old and very bright, in fact a budding evolutionary biologist. She’s also a prickly pear who wears her attitude like a badge – or perhaps a protective cape. In Sarah Treem’s fascinating play “The How and the Why,” now on clinical display at TimeLine Theatre, Rachel collides with a blood relative who may owe her a good deal – some explaining for starters – and the thorns fly. ★★★
Preview: When the League of Chicago Theatres decided to stage its first Chicago Theatre Week last year, offering discounted tickets to some 100 productions and other perks in a sort of regional stimulus package, no one knew how it would go – whether the public would bite. What happened was more like a gobble: All 6,000 tickets in the discount pool were snapped up. Now Chicago Theatre Week is back, with the 2014 version of dramas for $15 and $30, and this time the presenters exude optimism.
Review: It is like properly prepared scrambled eggs, this rebuilt production of “To Master the Art,” the story of how a tall, kitchen-clueless Californian became the famous Julia Child: basic, sumptuous, irresistible. If this lovely play, written by William Brown and Doug Frew, possessed an intimate charm in its original 2010 staging at TimeLine Theatre that cannot be replicated in the Broadway Playhouse’s grander proscenium venue, its essential warmth and honesty remain undiminished. ★★★★
Review: The disturbing thing about Lorraine Hansberry’s 1959 play “A Raisin in the Sun,” a sharply drawn portrait of America’s racial divide and one black family’s resolve to cross that chasm, is how current it still feels in the season-opening production at TimeLine Theatre, potently and humanely crafted by director Ron OJ Parson. ★★★★
First in a series of season previews: TimeLine Theatre rolls into its 17th season by turning back the clock more than half a century to Lorraine Hansberry’s classic story of racial prejudice in Chicago, “A Raisin in the Sun.” Though two of the Milwaukee Rep leads will appear at TimeLine – Greta Oglesby as Mama, who’s bent on seeing her family better situated, and Mildred Marie Langford as her daughter Beneatha, who dreams of a medical career – this production will be a complete rethinking of the work, from sets to concept.
Interview: Our guy – the American – in J.T. Rogers’ play “Blood and Gifts,” about the United States’ clandestine effort to blunt the Russian invasion of Afghanistan in the 1980s, is a CIA agent. We see the unfolding events through his eyes. But the character who elicits our sympathy and commands our imagination is an Afghan warlord called Abdullah Khan. He is made credible flesh and elusive spirit at TimeLine Theatre in a riveting performance by Kareem Bandealy, who says his portrait reflects both his own cultural heritage and the desperation that drives this unpredictable warrior.
Cops under gun at TimeLine. 4 stars!
Interview: Actor Dan Waller describes himself as a simple guy who values friendship and the respect of his peers. That makes him a close kin to the North England coal miner, revealed as gifted artist, he portrays in Lee Hall’s play “The Pitmen Painters” at TimeLine Theatre.
Portraying an experienced arms negotiator during the 1980s missile crisis for TimeLine, Brooks manages to be sly, funny and serious — in precisely accented English she learned from an interview with a Russian opera star.