The Beginning: Sept 18 – 22 (Preview and Chart)

The chart of randomness for the 3rd weekend of September!
The chart of randomness for the 3rd weekend of September!

The Chicago theatre season is in full swing this weekend.  Last weekend was a great one for openings.  This one is even more stacked with new shows.  And then, the following weekend is super-loaded.  Thereafter things settle down a bit.  But, this is one of those times when it isn’t even possible for us to come close to covering everything that’s out there.  So, it’s good news that Maggie, Jackie, and I, are all around to this weekend to cover as much as we can.  I’m quite excited because we’re seeing a shows at LifeLine, Victory Gardens, 20%, and Idle Muse.  These are groups that come with a solid pedigree, and that’s a good feeling when you’ve had your fate decreed by a small plastic orb.

The DirectorsLabChicago is going on currently here in town.  If you’re not familiar with the project, it is a week-long workshop wherein a bunch of directors from here and elsewhere converge and confer.  Actors develop their muscles in acting classes and workshops.  Playwrights have their work developed through readings.  Directors often don’t get the chance to really hunker down and refresh their skills and their spirits.  But, that’s what DirectorsLabChicago is for (as are its sister programs in New York, Toronto, and Los Angeles).  I participated last year as a director, and it really rejuvenated my drive.  And now, my wife and I are hosting a couple of the out of town participants.  It’s cool to see them excited about what they are experiencing, and oddly familiar to see them exhausted and energized at the same time.  I personally find it really cool that the leadership of so many Chicago-based theatre companies participate as panelists and instructors during the week.  I truly think that Elizabeth Margolius and her people at the DLC have put together one of the truly great things about the Chicago theatre community.  It’s all the more cool, because it is something that is sort of below the radar to the normal theatre-goer.  Audience folks have no idea that it’s here.  It’s just part of the quality work that goes on behind the scenes.

Now, as I look at this week’s chart, I notice a few things of note.  City Lit is opening a production of “At Home at the Zoo”, which is Edward Albee’s modern classic “The Zoo Story” combined with its prequel “Homelife”.  This play is the source of a favorite quote of mine.  I tend to use it whenever I get lost while driving, or whenever I’m talking to someone who has gone on a long-winded tangent.  That quote: “Sometimes it’s necessary to go a long distance out of the way in order to come back a short distance correctly.”  We didn’t roll this play this week.  I’m truly hoping it is still on the chart next week.

“King Lear” is the other show that caught my eye.  It is my second-favorite Shakespeare play, after “Measure for Measure”.  I know.  I’m odd in my Shakespeare tastes.  Anyway… I’ve not seen a production of Lear in over a decade.  And from what I saw in Chicago Shakespeare‘s press release last week, this is the production to end that drought.  Montage!  Here’s a video montage.  Montage!

So… Here’s a bit of random stuff, as I am wont to put at this point in the column:

  • Jerry, Bob, Hans, Chad, Burl, Patrick, and Charlie
  • My cat sat on my lap for over 10 minutes yesterday.  He seldom does that, as he is really more affectionate with my wife than he is with me.
  • Trivia time (thanks to www.hookedonfacts.com) — “A species of earthworm in Australia grows up to 10 feet in length.”  I don’t normally mind worms, but I think that would have an effect on me the same way that snakes do on Indiana Jones.
  • Smurf!