Windy City Media Group Frontpage News


home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2023-09-06



Theater: Mirror of the Invisible World

This article shared 4536 times since Wed Jul 11, 2007
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Sofia Jean Gomez ( top ) and Charlette Speigner in Mirror of the Invisible World. Photo by Liz Lauren


Playwright: Mary Zimmerman after Nizami

At: Goodman Theatre, 170 N. Dearborn

Phone: 312-443-3800; $25-$68

Runs through: July 29


Perhaps one day the adjective 'Zimmerman-ian' will be part of our lexicon to describe the decorative and intellectually savvy theatrical style of Tony Award-winning director Mary Zimmerman. 'Zimmerman-ian' certainly applies to her exquisitely crafted Mirror of the Invisible World, now at the Goodman Theatre.

As with past Zimmerman adaptations like The Odyssey, Metamorphoses and The Secret in the Wings, Mirror finds its origins in an episodic and historical text—in this case, Nizami's poem ( Haft Paykar ) from ancient Persia.

It all centers on King Bahram, who hears tales of love ( both won and lost ) from each of his seven brides of different nations ( who are also each in a different color to match the pavilion they live in ) . The episodic nature of Haft Paykar certainly suits Zimmerman's penchant for creatively fleshing out a variety of tales in numerous locales or styles all in one performance. Zimmerman is known for doing this with a resourceful acting company and oftentimes simple theatrical trickery.

For example, the red Russian bride's tale of the Chinese princess Turandot ( the most familiar tale of the lot thanks to Puccini's opera ) incorporates inventive shadow play to depict legions of mechanized head-lopping soldiers and the mysterious cavern of a learned recluse. More shadow play and even a comic overhead perspective liven up the blue Turkish bride's tale of an Egyptian merchant terrified by deceptive demons.

This Mirror production is an aggrandized take on Zimmerman's originally staged 1997 production in the Goodman Theatre's former space at the Art Institute of Chicago. I didn't catch that previous production, but this Mirror strangely doesn't feel creatively fleshed out despite the much larger budget featuring lavishly airy sets by Daniel Ostling, opulent costumes by Mara Blumenfeld and moody lighting by John Clubert in a bigger Albert Theatre space.

Compared to previous Zimmerman shows that mixed up short and more-fleshed-out stories, there's a uniformity and rigid structure to Mirror, since each of the seven wives' tales are given the same weight. If you don't go in knowing you're in for seven differing tales, you're apt to get a little fidgety.

At least the company of eight is filled with standout performances. Several of Zimmerman's regulars—like Lisa Tejero, Anjali Bhimani, Faran Tahir and Atley S. Loughridge—show why they're masters at seamlessly switching through various male and female characters. They're joined by Zimmerman newcomers like Charlette Speigner, Sofia Jean Gomez, Nicole Shalhoub and Stacey Yen, who blend nicely into the ensemble.

Accompanying everything with an eclectic mix of Middle Eastern and Western instruments are the onstage musicians Gary Kalar, Ronnie Malley and Eve Monzingo, who give panache to sound designer Michael Bodeen's music.

Perhaps I'm being too harsh on expecting such wowing new highs from Zimmerman every time at bat, especially since many theatergoers in the hinterlands never see the high levels of Zimmerman-ian theatricality that Chicagoans have grown accustomed to. By all means go and delight in Zimmerman's beautiful stage pictures and stimulating storytelling. Mirror certainly sweeps you off into a fairy-tale world of enchantment.

This article shared 4536 times since Wed Jul 11, 2007
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Out and Aging
Presented By


Gay News

55th anniversary Jeff Awards for Equity theaters announced 2023-10-03
--From a press release - (October 2, 2023 — CHICAGO) — At the 55th anniversary celebration of Equity theater excellence, the Jeff Awards recognized 46 award recipients selected from among 214 theater artist nominees across ...

Gay News

Beyonce concert film 'Renaissance' debuting Dec. 1 2023-10-03
- Media outlets have reported that the theatrical release date for Renaissance: A Film By Beyonce—a movie chronicling the superstar's most recent world tour—is Dec. 1. Advance tickets are already available for sale on major theater chains ...

Gay News

OPERA REVIEW Lyric's new season at full-sail with debuting 'Dutchman' production 2023-09-30
- Lyric Opera of Chicago is off to a flying start with its new-to-Chicago production of Richard Wagner's The Flying Dutchman. Magnificent performances by the leads and chorus—not to mention masterful work by Lyric's orchestra, conducted by ...

Gay News

THEATER REVIEW 'Little Voice' showcases big talents 2023-09-29
- The Gift Theatre at Filament Theatre, 4041 N. Milwaukee Through Oct. 15 � I kept thinking of Walter, one of the regulars at (late, lamented) Bucks Saloon, when watching The Gift Theatre's current production of ...

Gay News

SAVOR Jam-packed Chicago Gourmet; Easy Bar's 'Drag Me to Bingo' 2023-09-28
- Hundreds of people recently took part in one of the city's annual culinary highlights: Chicago Gourmet. Spanning Sept. 21-24 mostly at the Harris Theater rooftop at Millennium Park, Chicago Gourmet featured, as usual, several events, including ...

Gay News

DANCE Deeply Rooted performing Nov. 3 at the Auditorium Theatre 2023-09-27
- The Auditorium Theatre, 50 E. Ida B. Wells Dr., is presenting Deeply Rooted Dance Theater—a Chicago-based contemporary dance company rooted in traditions of American and African-American dance—in a one-night-only performance ...

Gay News

Teatro Zinzanni returning to Cambria Hotel on Oct. 5 2023-09-25
- Teatro ZinZanni is returning to the Chicago Loop—tucked inside a mirrored spiegeltent within the 14th floor of the Cambria Hotel, 32 W. Randolph St. The cast features returning fan favorites including Duo 19, a dynamic trapeze ...

Gay News

THEATER Mosaic Players revives 5 Lesbians Eating a Quiche 2023-09-24
- Are suburban Illinois and Wisconsin towns ready to welcome 5 Lesbians Eating a Quiche into their churches, synagogues and community colleges? The artists of a Lake County theater company certainly think so. "I was very pleasantly ...

Gay News

SHOWBIZ John Waters, Madonna, Miriam Margoyles, Angelica Ross, 'Cassandro' 2023-09-21
- Openly gay film director John Waters (Pink Flamingos, Serial Mom, Cry-Baby) received his star on Hollywood's Walk of Fame, The Hollywood Reporter noted. (Actors Ricki Lake and Mink Stole as well as photographer Greg Gorman were ...

Gay News

SHOWBIZ Kim Petras, LGBTQ+ movies, TIFF, canceled shows, yachts 2023-09-15
Video below - Ahead of her Feed the Beast world tour, Grammy-winning international trans pop singer/songwriter Kim Petras has shared reimagined, symphonic, seven-piece string-ensemble performances of fan favorites from her debut album Feed ...

Gay News

THEATER Queer actor Kyle Patrick reflects on leading 'American Psycho: The Musical' 2023-09-14
- American Psycho—both the Bret Easton Ellis novel and the Mary Harron-directed film led by Christian Bale—would seem ripe for a musical treatment, given the omnipresent campy elements (despite, or maybe because of, the gore). And, in ...

Gay News

Chicago Opera Theater starts 50th-anniv. season with 'Soldier Songs' 2023-09-13
- Chicago Opera Theater (COT) is kicking off its 50th-anniversary season with David T. Little's Grammy-nominated Soldier Songs—described as "a haunting, heavy-metal infused theatrical cantata about the psychological impact of war." ...

Gay News

Porchlight Music Theatre's announces 29th season 2023-09-12
--From a press release - This past Friday at our special event, Porchlight ICONS: Celebrating Ben Vereen, we shared the exclusive announcement of our 29th Season! The new season launches with The Cole Porter Festival - A Celebration of the Man ...

Gay News

THEATER Jim Henson production in Chicago on Nov. 14-Dec. 31 2023-09-12
- A live theatrical adaptation of Jim Henson's Emmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas is making its Chicago debut Nov. 14-Dec. 31, at the Studebaker Theater at the historic Fine Arts Building, 410 S. Michigan Ave., Broadway World revealed. ...

Gay News

SHOWBIZ 'Sex Education' star, Rotten Tomatoes, Jessica Lange, Queer/Art 2023-09-08
Video below - Sex Education star Ncuti Gatwa officially came out during an interview with Elle UK, according to Out. "I remember being at Manchester Pride, going through the streets with all my boys, shaking my cha-chas, living it ...


Copyright © 2023 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives.

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 Transgender 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.






About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots
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     
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.