It starts out as a jolly ethnic sitcom. Living Large in a Mini Kind of Way at 16th Street Theater opens with lots of one-liners that spring from assorted zany family squabbles. But it's quickly obvious that this is more than just some Latino laugh fest. It's deeper, richer, more focused and incisive.
Bobbie Raymond is talking about the subject of her one-act play, An Imaginary Interview with Elizabeth Louise Vigee LeBrun, which will be presented at the 19th Century Charitable Association, 178 N. Forest Avenue, next Monday afternoon, April 8.
Seascape by Edward Albee, Oak Park Festival Theatre's current production playing at the Madison Street Studio Theatre, is fascinating on so many levels. The play failed at the box office in 1975 yet the absurdist comedy won a Pulitzer Prize for its playwright.
There are one-person shows in which a performer impersonates a colorful or historical individual, like Mark Twain, Harry Truman, Emily Dickinson or Clarence Darrow. Then there are solo performances in which an actor presents personal autobiographical storytelling, such as Chazz Palminteri's A Bronx Tale. 16th Street Theater's new production, Empanada for a Dream, written and performed by Juan Francisco Villa, is poignant and passionate example of the latter.
Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks, the new production at Open Door Theater, begins as an antagonistic relationship between two very strong-willed people. Though repetitious and predictable, the two-character comedy by Richard Alfieri, is also a tender study of intimacy and loneliness. Its director, Charlie McGrath, keeps things moving.
To say that The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs by Mike Daisey is a theatrical monologue about labor abuses makes it sound like some stodgy, muckraking lecture from a century ago. Far from it. This lively, controversial one-man show is eye-opening and spell-binding.
Small, just in time for election season, provides behind-the-scenes insight into politics — especially fictional Illinois politics. Much of the action takes place in a wood-paneled private room in The Snug, a Loop pub with a Celtic atmosphere that's a favorite watering hole for plotting politicians and their underlings.
Watching three men chained to a wall all evening may not sound particularly compelling. But Oak Park Festival Theatre's new production of the 1992 play Someone Who'll Watch Over Me by Irish dramatist Frank McGuinness is tightly staged and strongly performed.
It may not be everyone's cup of tea but I laughed my head off at the new production of the 1992 comedy Dearly Departed at Circle Theatre. There's not really a true storyline but rather an assortment of hilarious character sketches built around a lot of goofy down-home folks who are gathering for a family funeral.