Windy City Media Group Frontpage News

THE VOICE OF CHICAGO'S GAY, LESBIAN, BI, TRANS AND QUEER COMMUNITY SINCE 1985

home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2021-09-01
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
Donate

Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

Phèdra
THEATER REVIEW
by Steven Chaitman
2010-01-27

This article shared 2444 times since Wed Jan 27, 2010
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


By Jean Racine, translated by Robert David MacDonald. At: New World Repertory Theater—Theatre Building Chicago. Phone: 630-663-1489 ; $20-$25. Runs through: Feb. 14

The challenge of Phèdra or any production more than 300 years old is finding a renewed purpose to bring it back to the stage. The New World Repertory Theater aspires to enhance its production of French playwright Jean Racine's 1677 Greek tragedy through Laban Movement Analysis, an intensive study of body movement and its connection to thought and emotion. A story of irrepressible passion and shame at the hands of the gods, Phèdra seems an ideal choice to explore movement-based expressions of the inner torment of its ill-fated characters, but the effectiveness of Laban's theory in this production varies. Much of its cast could use some more command of Racine's visceral poetry before exploring the ways it might manifest itself through movement.

After a local run in November, the Downers Grove-based theater company now tries Phèdra before a city audience at the Theatre Building Chicago. It's a young cast that will likely gel more with a young urban audience, but the flipside is the inexperience. Robert David MacDonald's translation is clear but riddled with difficult couplets and to self-impose the challenge of Laban Movement Analysis as well makes for a difficult task. It's one achievement to grasp the meter while projecting all that internal conflict and another to create movement that coincides with it seamlessly.

Consequently, director and certified Laban Movement instructor Alison Henderson's choices of where to emphasize the movement are hit or miss. When used in exposition such as the choreographed prologue of the goddess Venus cursing Phèdra on her wedding day to fall madly in love with her stepson Hippolytus, it feels like mere pantomime. When Phèdra ( Sarah Pinkham ) uses all kinds of arm movements to signify how she feels covered with the filth of shame, it's an interesting supplement to the language.

Pinkham, however, doesn't quite command the attention expected of a titular character in a Greek tragedy. Her madness is more temperamental; she is not pitiable or sadly misunderstood. The direction doesn't help her either: When she rips the tapestry off a wooden post and reveals it to be a cross and in only the third act leans back on it as if crucifying herself, if Phèdra were ever to be seen as a martyr, that symbolism is furthermore ruined.

The production's best artistic choice is including Venus ( Laura Merchut ) as a character. She enters intermittently throughout Phèdra's scenes, controlling her movements, physically demonstrating the gods' antagonistic power over her will and the hopelessness of Phèdra's predicament. In all other aspects, that sense of powerlessness, the magnitude of the inner conflict, never fully reaches the audience.

Phèdra is a well-meaning production but a bit too ambitious. As hard as this cast likely trained to learn Laban's theory, applying it to a Racine play that is contingent upon its actors' ability to grasp the language and communicate great internal struggle to the audience is quite an undertaking.


This article shared 2444 times since Wed Jan 27, 2010
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

Stage Left Theatre names new artistic director 2021-10-21
- Stage Left Theatre announced Bobbi Masters as its new artistic director. Masters has directed plays at theaters around the nation such as No Strings Theatre Company in Las Cruces, New Mexico (The Bald Soprano); and Kitchen ...


Gay News

THEATER E. Faye Butler to star in 'Fannie' Oct. 25-Nov. 14 2021-10-21
- Goodman Theatre, 170 N. Dearborn St., will host the run of Cheryl L. West's Fannie (The Music and Life of Fannie Lou Hamer), which will run Oct. 25-Nov. 14. E. Faye Butler stars as U.S. civil-rights ...


Gay News

Hubbard Street Dance back on the stage with 'RE/TURN' 2021-10-21
- Hubbard Street Dance Chicago (HSDC) will present Fall Series: RE/TURN to herald its return to the stage at the Harris Theater, 205 E. Randolph St. The program will feature new premieres as well as audience favorites ...


Gay News

Lyric Opera presenting 'Florencia en el Amazonas' Nov. 13-28 2021-10-21
- During Nov. 13-28, Lyric Opera of Chicago will run the company premiere of Florencia en el Amazonas—the first Spanish-language work to be presented as part of Lyric's mainstage opera season. There will be evening performances on ...


Gay News

Theater review: This Wide Night 2021-10-17
- Title: This Wide Night. Playwright: Chloe Moss At: Shattered Globe Theatre/Interrobang Theatre Project at Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont Ave. Tickets: $25-$45; SGTheatre.org. Runs through: Nov. 13 The landlord calls ...


Gay News

MUSICALS 'Pretty Woman' tickets go on sale Oct. 15 2021-10-15
- After a pre-Broadway run in Chicago and being on Broadway, Pretty Woman: The Musical, based on one of Hollywood's most beloved romantic stories of all time, returns to Chicago. The production will run at the CIBC ...


Gay News

THEATER Broken Nose presenting looter drama 'Primer' Nov. 15-Dec. 5 2021-10-15
- Broken Nose Theatre, a pay-what-you-can theater company, will run the world premiere audio drama Primer, described in a release as "a deeply honest look at the prioritization of property over people. Ensemble member Spenser Davis wrote ...


Gay News

THEATER 'A Rocky Horror Picture Party' at The Den on Oct. 30-31 2021-10-12
- Haven is presenting Science Fiction / Double Feature: A Rocky Horror Picture Party—an immersive Halloween experience that brings to life in vivid technicolor the world of the cult-classic film—directed by ...


Gay News

THEATER Rivendell's '8:46' to run Oct. 21-23, stream Nov. 1 2021-10-12
- Rivendell Theatre Ensemble (RTE)—Chicago's only Equity theater dedicated to producing new work with women at the core—announced 8:46 (Breathing Room), a new play festival of four commissioned plays each eight ...


Gay News

COMEDY Janeane Garofalo at The Den Theatre on Nov. 19-20 2021-10-12
- The Den Theatre will present comedian Janeane Garofalo for four performances on Nov. 19-20 (at 7 and 9:30 p.m. each night) on The Heath Mainstage, 1331 N. Milwaukee Ave. Garofalo has had many memorable and critically ...


Gay News

DRAG Utica Queen finds a home in Chicago 2021-10-12
- Ethan Mundt rose to fame as Utica Queen in season 13 of the Emmy-winning show RuPaul's Drag Race. Ultimately placing sixth in the competition, this young, gay 25-year-old showed creativity and personality. Mundt's latest project, Homecoming ...


Gay News

THEATER 'Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog' running through Nov. 6 2021-10-12
- Black Button Eyes Productions is welcoming back live audiences with the popular internet musical Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog—an authorized fan production to benefit the Chicago charity Season of Concern—playing through ...


Gay News

THEATER 'I'm Not A Comedian… I'm Lenny Bruce' returns Nov. 5 2021-10-08
- Theatre 68 and the Venus Cabaret Theater, 3745 N. Southport Ave., announced the return of the critically acclaimed production, I'm Not A Comedian… I'm Lenny Bruce, to Chicago beginning Friday, Nov. 5. Ronnie Marmo wrote and ...


Gay News

THEATER REVIEW Songs for Nobodies 2021-10-07
- Title: Songs for Nobodies. Playwright: Joanna Murray-Smith At: Northlight Theatre at the North Shore Center for the Arts, 9501 Skokie Blvd. Tickets: $30-$89. Runs through: Sunday, Oct. 31 You won't find their names in the history ...


Gay News

Chicago Inclusion Project offers anti-racism workshops for arts organizations 2021-10-05
--From a press release - Chicago, IL—The staff of The Chicago Inclusion Project is excited to launch a new workshop and continuum developed by staff members Jessica Vann and Arti Ishak. The workshop, entitled "Being Anti-Racist: An Active Action," is designed ...


 



Copyright © 2021 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 
 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS







Sponsor
Sponsor


 

Sponsor


Donate


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.