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  Borealis at Chopin Theatre


Chopin Theatre
1543 W. Division Chicago

When a redacted and ominous letter arrives from her brother on the oil fields, thirteen-year-old Cozbi sets off for Anwar, Alaska to find him. Armed with a book on corporate communication strategy and a sharp axe, Cozbi battles her way through an Arctic wilderness in pursuit of her missing brother, squaring off against a host of monstrous Ass-Hats on each rung of the corporate ladder. Part mythic journey, part workplace satire, the play is a darkly comic adventure about family obligation, career aspiration, and what we leave behind to make our way to the top.

Thru - Oct 21, 2018

Show Type: Dark Comedy

Box Office: 773-278-1500

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  Borealis Reviews
  • Highly Recommended
  • Recommended
  • Somewhat Recommended
  • Not Recommended

Chicago Tribune - Not Recommended

"...Cole and his House actors throw a lot in the air to try to make it work. Alas, the dominant scenic element is a chained platform that rises and falls from the ceiling — so agonizingly slowly that I wondered if this was some kind of meta-theater of cruelty. You wait and watch as it comes down. And you sit and watch as it goes up. Having not done much at the bottom."
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Chris Jones

Chicago Reader - Somewhat Recommended

"...Still, the point of the two-hour odyssey remains murky, if not for Cozbi then for me. Fisher goes to great pains to set up what looks like an ecological cautionary tale about an industrial behemoth despoiling the wilderness, and then fails to follow through on it: the pipelines and rigs serve as little more than a field of play for our heroine to negotiate on her way to her goal. Another ostensible subject is the dehumanizing nature of corporate culture, but Fisher doesn't have anything all that remarkable to say about that beyond (a) lampooning its well-known excesses and (b) dressing those excesses up in fantasy-fiction iconography."
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Tony Adler

Windy City Times - Not Recommended

"...Sluggish, juvenile and repetitive, the House Theatre's Borealis was in rough shape at its final preview. But even were the swampy pacing tightened up, it's difficult to imagine the show working."
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Catey Sullivan

NewCity Chicago - Somewhat Recommended

"...In “Borealis,” the season opener at The House Theatre of Chicago, an ominous letter arrives in an otherworldly Alaska setting thirteen-year-old Cozby on a surrealistic adventure to rescue her brother from the depths of a corporate oil company. It checks all the boxes of a show from The House: puppetry, mythos, adventure, spectacle, and a real message at the heart of the thing. But like many recent shows from this company, it doesn’t quite hit the mark."
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Emma Couling

Chicago Theatre Review - Recommended

"...This impressive opening of The House Theatre's new season is, as usual, strong in its storytelling element and most impressive in its fantastic technical design. The details may become a little foggy as all the action, costumes and special effects progress. But if theatergoers simply sit back and let this epic saga wash over them, the full enjoyment of Cozbi's quest into the wild will be their final reward."
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Colin Douglas

The Fourth Walsh - Somewhat Recommended

"...BOREALIS is a play about a sister encountering plenty of quirky obstacles in her quest to find her brother. Although there are enjoyable moments, particularly in the oddity of this futuristic company, the overall story is missing pieces. And without these key pieces, the human connections are overshadowed by the corporate lunacy."
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Katy Walsh

Third Coast Review - Not Recommended

"...Working from a script by Bennett Fisher, the storybook quality seems to borrow from the kind of whitebread satire of the Wizard of Oz or Alice in Wonderland—the oil rigs are an Otherworld, with inverted morals and nonsensical doublespeak, populated by snide corporate caricatures and lonely hearted cartoons with lessons and gadgets and helping hands to impart. Even deeper down the rabbit hole, some design elements seem to recall moments from (among other things) Miyazaki’s Spirited Away, itself a reflection of Lewis Carrol’s more fantastical creations. But this grab bag of ideas only serves to anchor the story enough to make it palatable. Frankly, Borealis needs work if it ever hopes to resonate deeper than a run-of-the-mill fairy tale."
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Matthew Nerber

Chicago On Stage - Somewhat Recommended

"...George S. Kaufman famously said that “satire is what closes on Saturday night.” While he was clearly exaggerating (Kaufman’s own musical satire, Of Thee I Sing, was highly successful), there is no doubt that satire is a hit or miss concept in theatre. While comedy has a built-in audience and serious drama fills houses, satire, which occupies a strange in-between land where things are often funny but their meaning is serious (and not necessarily obvious), is for some people an acquired taste."
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Karen Topham

Picture This Post - Recommended

"...The theme of freewheeling imagination versus institutional achievement also seems to imply that Cozbi doesn't go to school, or she would already know most of this. But taken as it is, the show is a brilliant satire, a feast for the senses, and a fascinating study of what happens when one sibling is in the adult world while the other is very much a child."
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Jacob Davis

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