Their signature show, Too Much Light Makes The Baby Go Blind, which had its first performance on December 2, 1988, is now in its twenty-fifth year, making it the longest-running show in Chicago today. Too Much Light..., with its ever-changing "menu," is an attempt to perform 30 plays in 60 minutes. The single unifying element of these plays is that they are performed from a perspective of absolute honesty.
The play tells the story of a young governess (played by Jennifer Vance) sent to an isolated country mansion to oversee the education of two young orphans. Her employer (played by Martin Hughes, who deftly plays multiple characters) and the orphans' uncle, a wealthy and mysterious man from London, gives her only one caution - no matter what happens, she is not to bother him with their problems or bad behavior. Young Flora has fallen mute, and her brother Miles has been expelled from his boarding school for an unnamed and insidious reason.
Music, merriment and swashbuckling adventure abound in Twelfth Night, Shakespeare's zany, gender-bending comedy of unrequited love and romantic mischief. When twins Viola and Sebastian are separated in a shipwreck and wash ashore in the beautiful but mysterious land of Illyria, they're quickly caught up in a maze of mistaken identity and mismatched ardor in which Viola finds herself disguised as a man named Cesario. And when she (as he) attracts the attention of the fair Olivia, it leads to some seriously hilarious situations before order is finally restored.
In The Vandal, a pair of lost souls come to find solace and companionship at a bus stop on a freezing night in Kingston, NY. Mr. Linklater's play is a startling and funny new work about how we carry on when we've lost the people we love.
One Christmas morning, a shy stuffed bunny enters the world of a young boy's nursery. Initially ignored in favor of more modern toys, she waits patiently to be noticed, wondering if she will ever be loved like the others. When the wise old Skin Horse reveals the majesty and mystery of what it means to become real, the Velveteen Rabbit begins an odyssey of the heart to make a lasting connection with her boy that will endure for always. Return to a simpler time with this heartwarming story about the transformative power of love. This production is recommended for children ages five and up (children under two not permitted), and runs one hour with no intermission. The book will be on sale in the lobby.
In this inspirational play, Hellman presents a pre-World War II America with a call to action aimed directly at the heart of the family. What at first appears charming drawing room comedy quickly turns to mystery and international intrigue. Family ties are tested, politics are questioned and one man steps out from safety to make the ultimate sacrifice. In Watch on the Rhine, Hellman challenges us to examine our own complacency in the face of world events, even when the atrocities occur an ocean away.
Lauren Lubow's WELCOME TO AMERICA is a harrowing journey through the last hour of the life of Christina Riggs, a woman on death row for the murder of her two children. Though Christina, through story-telling and movement, shares the story of what led her to this grisly act, she does not beg for pity or redemption. Instead, the audience is forced to examine themselves and the state of a country that allows and perpetuates a cyclical culture of destruction.
Forget Santa Claus, your sister (the saying goes) really knows if you've been bad or good. But when a divorce separates two young sisters, it's not so easy to keep such close tabs -- or score, depending on your perspective. That's the premise of Whatever We Want, the new play by Megan Johns that concludes the acclaimed, inaugural season of Vivarium Theatre. Stretching over the course of 15 years, the play chronicles the sisters' struggle to maintain their relationship despite distance and time. Johns artfully explores the inevitable reconciliation between the mental image, often lovingly tended, of a loved one... and the (often very different) reality. Humor infuses this insightful world premiere at the Heartland Studio.
Manhattan decadence in the 1920s provides the backdrop for this tough musical fable. Queenie, a vaudeville chorus girl. hosts a titular blowout with her vicious lover Burrs, a blackface minstrel. The guests are a vivid collection of the unruly and the undone: Queenie's conniving rival, a cocaine-sniffing bisexual playboy, a washed-up boxer, a black “brother act,” a diva of indeterminate age and infinite life experience, the fresh-off-the-farm ingénue whose naïveté quickly evaporates, a lesbian actress and her comatose girlfriend, and the bargain-basement heartthrob who catches Queenie's roving eye. The jazz- and gin-soaked party rages to a mounting sense of threat as artifice and illusion are stripped away. When midnight debauchery leads to tragedy at dawn, the high-flying characters land with a sobering thud, reminding us that no party lasts forever.
The next great civil rights issue? Zombies, natch. At least that's the perspective of Zombie Genius, the hilarious post-apocalyptic comedy at The Annoyance Theatre & Bar. The dead have risen up in revolt -- only to fall subject to the living, creating an underclass of the undead. It's up to Albert, a zombie with the gift of speech, to unite his brain-feeding brethen in a fight for their rights. Joined by his zombie-brother Bwains and his human friend Tim, he embarks on a quest for justice ... only to fall in in love with a human girl along the way. Ryan McDermott (Planet Karate, Manic Pixie Dreamland) directs this silly treat, perfect for the Halloween season.