Posts tagged ‘missed out’

Indefinite Hiatus

In case it wasn’t obvious, I’ve not been able to meet my original goal of seeing and writing about a show every week. I just haven’t had time. I’d like to apologize to all involved in two productions that I saw with every intention of writing about:

I’m leaving up the reviews already on this site, because, why not?

Anyway, thank you for reading! If you want to keep up with other things I’m writing, you can follow my regular blog, to compete with phrasemongers… I currently am a writing fellow with Createquity, and have blogged a little about financial decision-making in theaters at 2AMt. You can also find me trolling the #2amt thread on Twitter and inserting my soul-searing words of wisdom on a semi-regular basis.

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The Cabinet at Redmoon

Well, I’m on a learning curve with this. Last week, I said I was going to see a show that weekend, and offered some suggestions and asked for yours. I got a great one from a friend of mine; he suggested I go see Feast by Albany Park Theater Project. I took one look at their website, and was sold. However, by the time I worked out when to go and with who, the weekend was already sold out. So then I thought maybe I’d just wait and see it this week, but dithered long enough that all my options were sold out. Two takeaways:

  1. Pay attention to Albany Park Theater Project! If I snooze, I will lose. So I put my ass on their mailing list.
  2. Plan further ahead. Amy and I have a talent for filling our schedules, to the point of losing control. I have to do a better job carving out time for live performance, both for my three readers, and for myself.

I was determined not to let another weekend slip away! So after a survey of this weekend’s offerings, I learned of one show that I’d missed before, in 2005, and didn’t want to miss again, in the final weekend of its extension at Redmoon Central, The Cabinet.

If you have the slightest inkling toward the macabre, the carnivalesqe grotesque, then get your ticket right now. The Cabinet is only running through Sunday afternoon.

Of course, one expects the show to be good. It was very well-received in 2005 (and perhaps we can thank the current economic climate for the remount), but this is Redmoon we’re talking about! They throw the biggest, coolest outdoor parties in town, and when they aren’t collaborating with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra on a shadow-puppet-accompanied Swan Lake, they’re performing at the Whitehouse. So yes, you go in expecting something good, probably involving puppets.

But what I didn’t expect was the remarkable subtlety that Redmoon would bring to their steampunky spectacle-driven sensibility. Part of it is, no doubt, the much smaller scale of this production. All action takes place within and around a cabinet of many skewed doors and drawers, about 10 feet wide and 20 feet tall. But part of this subtlety is driven, I think, by the intimacy of the puppeteers with their objects. There are no attempts here to hide the wires, or the puppeteers, or make you wonder how they implemented effect 37a. It is all about the story and the tone thereof.

Further, the design of the puppets is superb. Disturbing, but superb. Such is the sense of command in the cold appraising eyes of Dr. Caligari, that you believe the puppeteers are not controlling him, but rather the other way round. And, though you see them similarly operating the protagonist, somnambulist Cesare, it is clear that they are manhandling him as a forlorn device towards their despicable ends. But the best moment of puppetrized character belongs to the girl who brings Cesare the closest he will ever come to sanity and love. I won’t spoil the moment by describing it, but it is astonishing.

And I certainly did not expect to see such a mirror of the human condition in the voice-over narration of Cesare’s inner experience. As a “somnambulist,” Cesare is never awake, but walks, listens, mourns and acts through his nightmarish, fogged-over lens into the real, waking world.  He is suggestible to evil, and manipulated to commit foul deeds. He mourns this, and longs to wake, but cannot even begin to attempt it. He is like any one of us who has surrendered our capacity for self-determination to affliction or addiction, societal norms, laziness or learned helplessness. Whoever is barely paying attention to the puppeteers pulling his or her own strings is just like Cesare, and just as capable of despair and devolution.

Price: full price is $20, so that is what we paid, per my policy. If I could have gone to the theater in person for my ticket purchase, I could have avoided additional telephone processing charges of $1.50 per ticket. But I couldn’t, so I paid them. It was completely worth it.

Mea culpa

I have been remiss. I repent that I underestimated how much time it would require to maintain two blogs. I will try to find a balance that gives this blog greater priority.

Further, I was not able to attend a live performance this last week. For Easter weekend, Amy and I traveled to the greater Cleveland area to spend the holiday with family. Amy was raised a papist, so planned to go to Easter Mass with her parents and our precocious niece, Cora Grace. I wanted to go, and consider it the weekend’s live performance. After all, as any intro to theater student can tell you (assuming they didn’t sleep through it), theater has roots in religious ceremony. Unfortunately, I was too debilitated by the common cold to drag myself out of bed for an 8am mass.  I even slept through the egg hunt, I’m sorry to say.

Now I find myself ridiculously behind on this blog, but determined to catch up! My entry on The Building Stage’s The Ring Cycle is coming right up. Yes, I know it closed. That’s going to happen sometimes on this blog. I’m an armchair critic, not a paid hack.