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  Chesapeake at The Greenhouse Theater Center


The Greenhouse Theater Center
2257 N Lincoln Avenue Chicago

Controversial performance artist Kerr has his NEA funding cut in a calculated, political trick by his home town candidate, the folksy, dog-toting Therm Pooley. For revenge, Kerr attempts a dog-napping to reveal that the Senator also has the public on a leash. But the Universe exacts its own fantastical revenge on Kerr. Fate, along with the help of some good belly rubs, compels Kerr to sit and stay closer to the Senator than he ever could have imagined. Blessing celebrates the inner life of our canine companions and spots the artist-activist in us all. Artistic Associate Greg Matthew Anderson stars in this one-person comedy about a conservative senator, the performance artist he demonizes, and the lovable Chesapeake Bay retriever called Lucky.

Thru - May 6, 2012

Price: $20-$60

Stage: Downstairs Mainstage

Show Type: Comedy

Box Office: 773-404-7336

The Greenhouse Theater Center Seating Charts

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  Chesapeake Reviews
  • Highly Recommended
  • Recommended
  • Somewhat Recommended
  • Not Recommended

Chicago Tribune - Recommended

"...There are plenty of other laughs in this ironic show — which surely is Blessing's funniest piece of work to date. This particular production, deftly directed by Shawn Douglass, benefits greatly from Anderson's carefully toned and, more importantly, vulnerable performance. You find yourself liking this neurotic artist, a fellow who can't say for certain if he has anything to offer an audience, and looking forward to his next attempt to discover more about his famous political nemesis and his political prop of a dog."
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Chris Jones

Chicago Sun Times - Highly Recommended

"...Blessing wrote this play in 1999, by which time the firestorm generated by the National Endowment for the Arts’ grants to four controversial individual performance artists (Karen Finley and Holly Hughes among them), as well as the funding of tax-supported museums exhibiting Robert Mapplethorpe’s sexually graphic photographs, had subsided just a bit. But you can still smell the ache as well as the giddy delight in every sentence he wrote. And these days, even as politicians aim at larger targets, “Chesapeake” has the feel of a fresh wake-up call. (And, it must be said, Spalding Gray aside, Blessing, who is best known for his play “Into the Woods,” writes far more brilliantly than the lion’s share of performance artists around.)"
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Hedy Weiss

Chicago Reader - Highly Recommended

"...Blessing indulges a little easy misogyny by making Pooley's wife a ball-buster a la Angela Lansbury in The Manchurian Candidate, thereby absolving Pooley of responsibility for his own positions. But everything else about this evening-length solo is delightful, including the performance by Greg Matthew Anderson for Remy Bumppo Theatre. Chesapeake is a sharp satire on American art, politics, and religion that somehow turns out to be strangely, sweetly profound."
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Tony Adler

Chicago On the Aisle - Recommended

"...It terms of sheer text, it’s a huge assignment. And end to end, Anderson’s zealous, bright-eyed, open-hearted impersonation of Kerr is a joy to watch. Kerr just wants to do what performance artists do: express himself and connect with the world. It isn’t obscene or salacious, he insists. There was never an orgasm. OK, once. There was this one guy…but in retrospect, Kerr muses, that might have been part of a setup."
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Lawrence B. Johnson

ChicagoCritic - Highly Recommended

"...playwright Lee Blessing adds a twist to Kerr’s scheme-the Universe plays a cruel trick on Kerr that finds the human artist inhabiting a dog as both he and the Senator’s dog die in a fall off a dam. This hilarious twist is deliciously played out by the lovable Greg Anderson as his body language and facial expressions allows him to speak ‘dog’! The new man-dog, also know as “Lucky” but really Kerr, with the help of some good belly rubs, gets Kerr-Lucky to influence Pooley to change his stance on the NEA."
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Tom Williams

Chicago Stage Standard - Somewhat Recommended

"... In the spirit of Nicolai Gogol’s playful metamorphoses, Blessing invents a kind of white bread magic realism that casts a tiny spell. Unfortunately, this paper-thin, one-man show runs two hours. The charm wears down and out. Blessing would first have us believe in a scatter-brained Dixie-doodle of a performance artist named Kerr (the name will become a pun). This flake’s idea of entertainment is to have audience members remove his clothes as he intones salacious excerpts from “The Song of Solomon” (his way to lighten up the Bible). But Kerr’s inveterate opponent, a reactionary Southern senator named Thermal Poolie (Foghorn Leghorn wasn’t available), wants to rescind his arts grant—and end the NEA itself!"

Lawrence Bommer

Let's Play at ChicagoNow - Highly Recommended

"...Below the surface, CHESAPEAKE runs deep. The insight into a man’s life essences is wondrously thought-provoking. Where does art start and stop? Where does life start and stop? Where does humanity start and stop? I’m still reeling from the life lesson that nothing is black and white that everything is gray through a dog’s eyes. Go see CHESAPEAKE and then let’s chat!"
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Katy Walsh

Around The Town Chicago - Recommended

"... For an actor to be on a stage for almost two hours, telling a story in which he must take on several personalities and one not human, is a task that can be one that both director and actor might fear, but in this case, Douglass and Anderson have met the challenge and exceeded the expectations I had after reading some of the preliminary notes about the play, or should I say, storyline! While I felt, this might have been better as a 90-100 minute production with no intermission, the two hours felt much shorter and the intermission was not as much a mood breaker as it might have been. Again, I credit the slick direction and marvelous delivery along with the mood-setting lighting by JR Lederle for making this a wonderful theatrical experience."
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Alan Bresloff

   This show has been Jeff Recommended*

*The designation of "Jeff Recommended" is given to a production when at least ONE ELEMENT of the show was deemed outstanding by the Joseph Jefferson Awards Committee.

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