Monthly Archives: February 2018

Darkly Hilarious! Promethean Theatre Ensemble Presents The Madwoman of Chaillot at Athenaeum Theatre (February 26, 2018)

A group of wealthy businessmen are hatching a plan to make them richer. These greedy men wish to dig for oil in the middle of Paris. It doesn’t matter to them what happens to the people and the city after they finished. And, if they have to murder a government official, so be it.  As they say, “dragons must be slayed to reach the treasure”.   Enter the Madwoman of Chaillot, an idealist who wishes to put an end to their evil plot. Perhaps she’ll exterminate all of them. Yes, it’s a dark comedy.

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Fans of Promethean’s production of The Liar will undoubtedly enjoy this show. This production is equally witty and hilarious, along with also being set in Paris. The way in which the upper class businessman, played by Jerry Bloom, treats the lower class in this play is so terrible that it’s funny. “Waitress, please tell this woman to leave.” “Roll along now.” “No, I don’t want to read this envelope!” The excellent dialog shines with this ensemble.

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Towards the end of the show, The Madwoman jokes about the show being three hours long. However, the show actually ran two and half hours, due to its dense and fast paced dialog. It could have used a slower pace at times. Still, this is a fantastic show and an excellent value at the intimate studio theatre space in the Athenaeum.

Get tickets now for The Madwoman of Chaillot through March 17th!

Quinn Delaney

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Gripping! American Blues Theatre Presents Six Corners at Stage 773 (February 24, 2018)

A man is shot on the Western Brown Line station and falls onto the tracks. Two good Samaritans help him back up to the platform just before a train arrives. However, he dies from the gunshot shortly afterwards anyways. Who shot this man? Why did these two help him? These are the questions that two Chicago detectives are trying to figure out. At first it seems simple, but it slowly unravels into a complex and gripping tale.

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The audience is trying to discover the truth through the stories being told by the witnesses. Early on it is revealed that the two witnesses know each other but they want the police to believe they are strangers. What else could they be hiding? Also, the detectives have some questionable history. When they learn the victim had quite a rap sheet, it seems like they are more than happy to close the case quickly instead of seeking justice for him.

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The performances in this production are excellent. Byron Glenn Willis is solid as B.J. Lyles, a character who is just trying to do the right thing in a tough situation. Lyric Sims is adorable as Yates. She embodies the innocence of youth. Peter DeFaria plays the role of detective Moroni with questionable ethics perfectly. He has great chemistry with Monica Orozco, who is playing his partner, Perez. It’s a complex relationship that they capture expertly. The same goes for the witnesses, Manny Buckley as Hutch and Brenda Barrie as Brackett. Their relationship turns out to be quite complicated. Also of note, Barrie’s performance while telling her story to the detective is emotional and powerful.

Find out the answers to this mystery now and get tickets for Six Corners through March 24!

Quinn Delaney

Powerful! The Wolves at the Goodman Theatre (February 23, 2018)

The Wolves are an indoor soccer team of high school girls. They gossip about all the typical teenage things like crushes and their bodies. However, they also talk about more serious subjects such as genocide, abortion, and death. It’s not a story about idyllic suburban life. A lot of drama takes place in this ensemble along with a lot of comedy as the girls build comradery as a team and face the challenges of life together.

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The set is a real indoor soccer practice space complete with AstroTurf, nets all the way around, ceiling fans, and stadium lights. When the girls kick the balls towards the audience, everyone can’t help but duck, even though the net is there between them. It’s clear the girls have been training as they go through the soccer drills and look like a real team.

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The entire cast in this production is solid and a few of them really shine. Angela Alise is superb as #00, the goalie, who struggles with social anxiety. Isa Arciniegas is strong and forceful as #25, the captain. Natalie Joyce is intense as #7, the striker. And lastly, Meighan Gerachis as Soccer Mom has a very powerful performance.

Get tickets now for The Wolves through March 11th!

Quinn Delaney

Phenomenal! Breach at Victory Gardens Theatre (February 21, 2018)

BREACH: a manifesto on Race in America through the eyes of a black girl recovering from self hate, written by Antoinette Nwandu and directed by Lisa Portes is a phenomenally funny, poignant and heart-wrenching play. It is a contemporary story of love and loss but is entrenched with comic relief, drama, a fist fight, a love triangle, tears and everything that makes for an entertaining evening. Topics of race, class and gender are written through the perspectives of the characters which causes the topics to become imperfectly human.

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Lights come up on a modern stage and a couple on a date. An African American woman Margaret (played by Caren Blackmore) and a white man Nate (played by Keith D. Gallagher), are pouring a bottle of wine and playing the long term relationship game. Nate goes on a rant about work and Margaret flips her auburn wig. I think to myself, “wow she seems fake.” Later, we realized the brilliance of her performance and how she was putting on this persona for her white boyfriend. We see her code switching throughout the play depending on what world or situation she was negotiating. As we follow Margaret through her relationships and friendships we get a glimpse to the complexity of race in America while at the same time laughing out loud. Scene by scene, act by act, we see her peel away her presentation of whiteness and we fall in love with her authentic self. Because we see her push away all the people close to her in order to protect herself, some might not find her likable throughout the play. But I found it refreshingly real as the story carried on. I could relate: creating walls between important relationship in order to keep yourself safe from disappointment and abandonment. However complicated it is to negotiate a white world, the audience is taken along on her journey and they may not always agree with her rash decisions to protect herself.

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The lights fade to black after the final scene. The audience gives a standing ovation to the actors. They made us cry. They made us laugh, a lot. And the playwright pointed out the layers of race in America through the eyes of Margaret in a way that pulled at the heartstrings.

As a white woman giving a review of a black joy, black grief, black wisdom, or blackness in general, seems wrong. To say that my opinion is superior to those who created the play, defies the mission of the play and it is what is wrong with the world. Therefore I say, go support local black art by seeing BREACH. This production is definitely worth your time and money.

Get tickets now for Breach through March 11th!

Agnotti Cowie

Excellent! EXOR Studios Presents X-Morph: Defense on Xbox One (Also available on PC and PS4)

X-Morph Defense is a tower defense game similar to Defense Grid. However, it also has the quality of being a top down shooter as you control a flying spaceship during the battles. In the game, you play invading aliens trying to take over the world. You battle everywhere across the globe including Hawaii, Mexico, Japan, and more. Before the battle begins, you strategically place your defense towers and fences to make the enemy take the hardest path possible. You can also knock over buildings and blow up bridges to block their path in the responsive urban environment!

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The game is extremely fun game to play. Most strategy games don’t translate well to the Xbox as a mouse and a keyboard are needed to precisely and quickly build (aka Warcraft and StarCraft). However, in this game, building is quite simple and the majority of time you are attacking the enemies with your very powerful spaceship. Having two joysticks is the ideal way to control the ship. Also, after completing the game, you can play again in Local co-op mode.

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You may also recognize Michael McConnohie as the voice of the Earth’s leader. He was also the voice of the Agency in Crackdown and many other games.

On March 26th, a free update will add a Survival Mode to the game. On the same day, European Assault will  also be released, which is a brand new mini-campaign!

Buy X-Morph: Defense now in the Microsoft Store!

Quinn Delaney

 

Excellent! Las Guitarras de España at City Winery (February 19, 2018)

Las Guitarras de España is a band that plays much more than just Spanish music. They explore music from all over the world. For example, tonight they play “Galloping Horses” as a tribute to the Chinese New Year. They also play “Su Sueño… My Reality” which is half in Spanish and half in English. It’s a Chicago Spanish blend that is unique and works really well. Also included is some excellent flamenco dancing. The crowd really gets into it by clapping along and shouting “Ole!”

 

All 13 musicians are having a great time. They are almost always smiling and truly enjoying playing the City Winery stage to a full house. Here is the full lineup:

Patricia Ortega – Vocals

Chiara Mangiameli – Dance/Vocals

Carlo Basile – Guitar

Diego Alonso – Guitar

Colin Bunn- Electric Guitar/Tres

Greg Nergaard – Bass

Kassandra Kososhis – Percussion

Javier Saume Mazzei – Percussion/Drum Kit

Ronnie Malley – Oud/Vocals

Victor Garcia – Trumpet

Guests:

Gerald McCelndon – Vocals

Chihsuan Yang – Violin/erhu

Here is the full setlist too:

Set 1:

Cada Dia (Patty/Carlo)

Zahma (Ronnie)

Maria La Mariposa (Colin)

Alameda (Diego)

Esperanza (Patty/Carlo)

Hanoi Pho (Carlo/Chihsuan)

Reality (Gerald/Carlo)

Alegrias (Dance- Chiara and GOS)

 

Set 2:

Mejor Me Voy Mañana (Carlo/Patty)

Mi Pulguita (Diego) *concert debut

Sevilla (Carlo/Alfonso Cid)

Nice Piece/Donde Esta Paco? (Ronnie/Carlo)

Mudanzas (Diego) *concert debut

Cejilla (Carlo/Patty)

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Quinn Delaney

 

 

An Excellent Experience! Intro to Climbing at Brooklyn Boulders Chicago

Have you never climbed before or only a climbed a few times? Then the Intro to Climbing class is for you. Plus, it’s only $10 more than a regular day pass with gear rental. First, the instructor will teach you how to boulder. You’ll learn about the color coded holds that create specific routes.

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Secondly, you’ll be introduced to the auto-belay machine. This is a fantastic machine that will handle the ropes for you. Just attach the carabiner to your harness and climb up. When you push off to go down (or fall), the rope will catch you and slowly lower you down to the ground. They have about eight of these machines which allow you to climb all the way to the ceiling, 50 ft high!

After the lesson, you are free to stay in the facility. Climb a few more walls and you are sure to be exhausted. It’s quite a workout. They also have a yoga room, a workout room with weights, and a lounge area with free WiFi. It’s a great atmosphere throughout the unique space.

Sign up for a class now!

Quinn Delaney

Quinn Delaney