Dandelion Wine

Before “Stand By Me”, the movie adaptation of Stephen King’s novella “The Body”, there was Ray Bradbury’s novel and play “Dandelion Wine”, a similar, but more aw, shucks rendering of the promise of summer, the companionship of friends, and how a bit of darkness can change a boy into a man. Advertisements

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I Sailed With Magellan

Three or four years I ago I’d been those kids, I thought, as I watched college students and young professional’s stumble out of the Gin Mill and the Red Lion Pub on Lincoln Ave. on a Wednesday night. On my way to see Victory Gardens’ production of I sailed with Magellan, an adaptation of Stuart Dybek’s short story collection fictionalizing the 1950s Chicago of his youth, I realized that as one of these kids I’d probably be four Maker’s Mark and Cokes in to the night already. It’s not that I wasn’t cultured, but when you’re in your early twenties, plays are for weekend afternoons, and drinking with your friends is for anytime.

Orange Lemon Egg Canary

UMA productions current run of Obie award-winning playwright Rinne Groff’s Orange Lemon Egg Canary reminds one of Dan Savage’s syndicated Savage Love columns. While there’s no Zoophilia or appearances from Cirque du Soleil trained midgets, the play is a full on mélange of sex, intrigue, deception, love triangles, sharp knives, and magic. It’s also a bit of train wreck, a twofold amalgamation of unspeakable horror and utterly engrossing spectacle.

Dazed and Confused in Rogers Park

If you took the Richard Linklater movie Dazed and Confused and dropped it into to the Jewish enclave of Roger’s Park in the late 1970’s, you’d pretty much have the Lifeline Theatre Company’s dramatic production of “Crossing California.

The Diary of Anne Frank

The Diary of Anne Frank is the pre- Judy Blume bible for 13 year-old girls. It’s also the paragon depiction of Holocaust life, a hallowed text taught to witless schoolchildren, who in this time, would rather text message their friends, than understand why a precocious German girl has such a hold over their homework load. Count me as one of the witless, as I’ve somehow managed to avoid the text my entire life.

Falling into the Rabbithole

You probably shouldn’t go see a play about parents coping with the death of their four year-old child the night before your own first child is born. But, by chance, that’s exactly what I did.

Court-Martial at Fort Devens

Victory Garden’s production of Court-Martial at Fort Devens is an examination of three young African American women serving in the Women’s Army Corp during World War II and their struggle to triumph over the destructive toll of overt racism and unchecked institutional power.

The Truth About Mrs. Warren

Is it nobler for a woman with limited prospects to slave away for minimum wage at a fast food joint or to work the streets for a stash of cash?

Betrayal

Betrayal is a study in the slow smolder of jealousy, the roil of resentment, and the fearful grip of insecurity bestowed by a love triangle among close friends. Despite the mind games played and lies spun amongst the interloper Jerry (played by Ian Barford), his mistress Emma (Amy Morton), and her husband Robert (Tracy Letts), the real Betrayal of this drama is the first ten minutes of the play, a mind numbing study in what has been critically lauded as the “Pinter Pause”.  

Execution of Justice

Harvey Milk was one of those historical names always in the back of my consciousness, but one without an associate meaning. Truth be told, and no disrespect intended, the name probably buzzed in my brain because it sounded like a clever moniker for a dairy cow.