Chicago Spotlight: November 2007
The month continues with a clutch of original works. The Premiere Theatre Company adapts The Quiltmakers' Gift, which will be both shadow interpreted and translated into American Sign Language (October 30-December 16 at the Athenaeum Theatre). Next, Polarity Ensemble Theatre presents Ghost Watch, a drama by local writer and director Richard Engling inspired by a real-life haunting (November 2-25 at the Irish-American Heritage Center). The next night, the award-winning About Face Theatre Company offers Wedding Play, a world premiere by artistic director Eric Rosen (November 3-December 2, Steppenwolf Reskin Garage Theatre). The same night, the highly creative Neo-Futurists unveil a world premiere, audience-interactive theatrical happening, Mr. Fluxus, based on the 1960's kinetic art movement, fluxus (November 3-December 8). The audience will be segmented, and sent into the fray every 15 minutes.
The second week of November is equally plump with new works beginning with Machos, a project by Teatro Luna, Chicago's highly-regarded all-Latin female writing and performing collective. Although performed by an all-female cast, Machos is based on extensive interviews with men (at Chicago Dramatists, November 8-December 16). A long-surviving but little-seen company that presents ensemble-written new works staged without a director, Theater Oobleck makes its return with Spukt (at The Viaduct, November 9-22). In the far-north Rogers Park neighborhood of Chicago, the side project offers two world premieres in repertory, Smart and Butt Nekkid (November 10-December 16).
The month closes with a light-weight world premiere by three authors with significant pedigrees. As a lark, playwrights Lisa Dillman, Rebecca Gilman, and Brett Neveu have collaborated on a British mystery parody, Lord Butterscotch and the Curse of the Darkwater Phantom, presented by Blindfaith Theatre Company at the Storefront Theatre (November 30-January 6).
Modern and contemporary masters are well-represented in November: Hubris Productions presents Alan Ball's Five Women Wearing the Same Dress (Hoover-Leppen Theatre, November 3-December 8); Pearl Cleage is represented by Bourbon at the Border, Eclipse Theatre (Victory Gardens Greenhouse, November 11-December 12); A Prayer for My Daughter, by Thomas Babe, opens the season at Mary-Arrchie Theatre Company (November 11-December 22); and Next Theatre Company offers John Patrick Shanley's Defiance (November 12-December 9), the second play in Shanley's proposed trilogy that began with Doubt.
Profiles Ensemble continues its Neil LaBute tribute season with Things We Said Today (November 16-December 16); Court Theatre stirs up farcical sturm und drang with Joe Orton's What the Butler Saw (November 17-December 9); ShawChicago offers GBS's Getting Married at the Ruth Page Arts Center (November 18-December 10); Remy Bumppo moves into festive mood with the familiar and popular The Philadelphia Story (November 19-January 6); and Writers' Theatre in Glencoe launches a long run (in their tiny space behind Books on Vernon) of Jeffrey Hatcher's two-character adaptation of The Turn of the Screw, the classic Henry James thriller (November 28-March 30).
As always, there are some special events and spectaculars: the Ringling Brothers Circus is in town with Bellobration, featuring star clown, Bello (November 1-25, split between the urban United Center and suburban Allstate Arena); The Phantom of the Opera returns -- haven't they fixed that chandelier yet? (Cadillac Palace Theatre, October 31-January 5); and Chicago Shakespeare Theater offers a treat for all ages with a return visit by the French physical theater troupe Compagnie Thierre, presenting Farewell Umbrella (November 21-December 1). The company is led by the deftly gifted grandson of Charlie Chaplin.