The Juniper Tree: Cannibalism Can Be Fun(ny)

Categories: Theater

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Photo by Mark Vancleave
Robert Rosen flashes a gang sign in The Juniper Tree.
Nothing says "children's fairy tale" like a story featuring insane jealousy, murder, and unintentional cannibalism.

The Juniper Tree has all three. The Grimm fairy tale has come back to life at Open Eye Figure Theatre, and it's a funny absolute delight. No, honestly.

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Kevin Kling Heals with
Sound in Hammer, Anvil, and Stirrup


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Murder Mysteries: Heavenly Horrors

Categories: Theater

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Image courtesy of Shadow Horse Theatre
I've been a longtime fan of Neil Gaiman, going all the way back to the first issue of Sandman, and through all of the graphic novels, short stories, and novels that have come in the decades since.

I've also always loved "Murder Mysteries," both in its original short-story version and the later audio drama starring Brian Dennehy and Michael Emerson. Gaiman plays with favorite themes, like supernatural beings with very human problems, in a multi-layered, engrossing, and eventually horrifying story.

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"Crazyface" Showcases Horror Master Clive Barker


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Ghost Sonata Goes All-In With Surreal Horrors

Categories: Theater

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Photo by Mathieu Lindquist
Karen Bix in Ghost Sonata.
Something is rotten in the unnamed city at the heart of August Strindberg's Ghost Sonata. In and of itself, that's not a surprise. The Swedish playwright was one of a group of 19th and early 20th century Scandinavians poking holes in their ossified society.

Their plays, however, didn't usually include mummies. Or ghosts. Or a blood-soaked, impossibly tall cook who starves the high-society family by making soup of water and a few drops of soy sauce.

See also:
Nimbus Explores "Ghost Sonata" with New Translation

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Longtime Friends Bain Boehlke and Wendy Lehr Slip Into On Golden Pond Roles

Categories: Theater

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Photo by Michal Daniel
Bain Boehlke and Wendy Lehr.
It took some prodding to get Bain Boehlke to take a look at On Golden Pond, the 1970s play best remembered for the 1981 film version -- and the iconic performances of Henry Fonda and Katherine Hepburn as the aging couple, Norman and Ethel Thayer.

"I was not that interested in On Golden Pond. I have a certain distrust of big, blockbuster plays," Boehlke says. "They are done in every community theater and every college. They pop up on Broadway to make money."

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"The Mystery of Irma Vep" Goes Deep for Its Laughs

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Mission Theatre Asks Questions in Detainee

Categories: Theater

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Image courtesy Mission Theatre Company
Growing up, Andrea Tonsfeldt had a father who couldn't talk about what he did all day. He worked in military intelligence, leaving his day-to-day efforts a mystery.

The actor and founding artistic director of Mission Theatre Company has been able to get inside that experience in Detainee, where she plays a government interrogator in charge of a domestic terrorism suspect. The drama opens this weekend at the newly renovated Phoenix Theatre in Uptown.

See also:
Mission Theatre Presents Invigorating, Uneven
Macbeth

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Grounded Is a White-Knuckle Ride

Categories: Theater

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Minutes before the start of Grounded Saturday night at the Playwrights' Center, actor Sha Cage walked on the stage, snapped a sharp salute, and held it until the lights went down. The action defined her character -- a smart, cocky, and absolutely dedicated fighter pilot.

See also:

Sha Cage Returns to Frank Theatre in
Grounded


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Twelfe Night Gets Lost in the Words

Categories: Theater

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Photo by Zach Curtis
Marika Proctor and Hannah Steblay.
The awkward spelling of Classical Actors Ensemble's Twelfe Night gives an indication that something is up with this production, now running in repertoire with John Webster's The Duchess of Malfi at the Minneapolis Theatre Garage.

That something is "original pronunciation," where the actors attempt to recreate how the words would have sounded 400 years ago when Shakespeare's plays were first produced.

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"A Chaste Maid in Cheapside": Definitely Sex Please, We're British

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Nimbus Explores Ghost Sonata with New Translation

Categories: Theater

GhostSonata.jpg
Photo by Mathieu Lindquist
Karen Bix in Ghost Sonata.
Danielle Blackbird has done it all in the theater. "I was a stage manager. I got my M.F.A. in acting. I directed a show, and I wrote a play for Nimbus," Blackbird says.

Now she can add translator to the list. She has created a new version of August Strindberg's Swedish classic Ghost Sonata for Nimbus Theater. The show opens this weekend.

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"Nacirema: Stories of Color" Explores Race

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Prince Rama's Journey Fuses Gamelan with Theater

Categories: Theater
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Provided photo 
For Prince Rama's Journey, opening tonight at the Avalon Theatre, Green T Productions and Sumunar Indonesian Music and Dance join together for a new adaptation of one of the most widely celebrated epics of southeastern Asia. Combining physical theater with Gamelan music and dance, the collaboration brings the story of Ramayana to life. 


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House on Mango Street Delves into Youth in the Barrio

Categories: Theater

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Photo courtesy Park Square Theatre
The House on Mango Street.
The House on Mango Street offers an impressionistic interpretation of Sandra Cisneros's memoir of growing up in a Chicago barrio in the 1970s. It's a piece that is often engaging, but lacking in drive to keep it going from beginning to end.

Still, the cast at Park Square Theatre's new Andy Boss Thrust stage provide a largely entertaining and thoughtful trip into the past through the eyes of young, and older, Esperanza.

See also:
Park Square Opens Boss Stage with "House on Mango Street"


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