Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Omigod, omigod, omigod!

Are you fucking kidding me?

Jesus Christ, I am so goddamn excited for Walking With Dinosaurs you wouldn't believe it. I was that kid that dragged his parents to every fake dino exhibit in a three hour radius; who thought that Reptile Gardens was the ideal family vacation spot; who, when the other third graders were picking Brontosaurus or Triceratops as their favorite dino, was rooting for Ankylosaurus (who, by the way, is gonna! be! at! the! United! Center!). It's going to be me and a bunch of eight year olds. And we're all gonna be freaking out of our minds about dinosaurs! Awesome!

But... Seventy-five bucks is a lot of cash for some robots and, unlike most eight year olds, mi parentas will most definitely not be paying for my ticket, so I'm gonna go ahead and lay all my cards on the table: if you or someone you love just so randomly happen to have the inside track to United Center dino days tix that you aren't going to use, hook a poor brotha up. I literally spent much of last night imitating a T. Rex, I was so damn excited (these sort of things don't seem nearly as dopey at the time, y'know?). So if you happen to be married to the CEO of United or own the Bulls or some shit like that, drop me a line, eh?


So, it looks like Hedy has either answered or thrown a wrench in my Dead Man's Cell Phone/Mysterious Elephant equation. Am I surprised? To a fault. Convinced? Hardly. In agreement? By no means. (Playful ribbing, Hedy, playful ribbing, regardless of how consistently baffling your tastes are to me.) I stand by my pronouncement: as far as I'm concerned, The Mysterious Elephant is the best show currently running in Chicago. Lucky for them, they'll never have to compete with dinosaurs.


Ah, Rogers Park. It's my hood, you know. At least it is for another five days. And if the post-Jeff news is to be believed, I'm leaving just as everything is starting to rock and/or roll.

The Glenwood strip of Lifeline, Theo Ubique (at the No Exit Cafe), BoHo (at the Heartland Studio), and the side project took home a killer 11 awards (and I'm not even counting BoHo's Choreography win for The Life, one of their Theatre Building excursions). For those counting at home, of all the awards that were given out that evening, HALF of them went at least in part to one of these four companies, three of which work in playing spaces that are about the size of my bedroom (in fact, the side project utilize two spaces on Jarvis, both of which are sub-bedroom size). So what's the scoop? After Theo Ubique's Jacques Brel's Lonesome Losers of the Night this weekend, I've seen a little somethin' somethin' from each of the four, and as far as I can see it's just downright dedication.

Lifeline, of course, has their own thing going on. After twenty-five years, they have their claws bone deep in their subscriber base (though, the fact that said base was willing to play along with the ribald Dr. Moreau says a lot for them). But the other three are scrappers, through and through. They've hunkered down in spaces that have no right to call themselves theatres and, by gosh, turned them into real live theatres. They've each got their own special brand of something: the side project's ability to regularly tap the atmospheric power of intimacy; Theo Ubique's willing acknowledgement and embrace of their communal audience environment; and BoHo's (who I am least familiar with, I will admit) stunning disregard for what less creative eyes would see as hindrances in the Heartland Studio -- by far the least stage friendly, in my opinion.

Then there's the bottom line: the work itself. Maybe it's just an unusually talented group of people that have found themselves in Rogers, but I tend to think that, on top of that, ingenuity is also born of circumstances and that not only are we dealing with talented people, but talented people who have willingly placed themselves in less than ideal situations and in time have started to show the rest of the theatre community just how ideal 'less than ideal' can be.

Congrats, Rogers Park, I'll be sad to leave. ATC, as my new next-door neighbor, you've got big shoes to fill.

And tangentially, I give twice the props to the Theo Ubique crew for their dedication in not only performing in the No Exit Cafe but also for serving the dinner beforehand. After Sunday, I'm quite certain that my ninth level of hell is full of old people and rice pudding and it's my damnation to make sure they get to each other.


EDIT: I've snuck back in to change an oopsie. I did the whole Timeline/Lifeline switcheroo -- you know how it is. Thanks to the scholar and gentleman who brought this to my attention and apologies to e'erbody for my lack of editing skills. I also referred to myself as Paul Reek over on Rob K's blog earlier. It's been a rough day, apparently.


Kerry said...

I think one reason that these theaters cleaned up so well at the Jeffs, aside from the quality of the work (though, oddly, the only Non-Equity Jeff Award winner I saw from the bunch this year was Side Project's "Faster") is that each is also working within a particular kind of theater that meshes well with the Jeff categories. Lifeline focuses on literary adaptation, Theo Ubique on chamber stagings of musicals and musical revues, BoHo on classics and musicals, and Side Project mostly on new work. So that means that there is a wealth of variety in a very small geographic area.

As someone who lives in Rogers Park, I'm happy to have them all close at hand!

Kerry said...

To clarify: I meant that the only show originating among the Rogers Park winners this year that I managed to catch was "Faster," though I've certainly seen Theo Ubique, Lifeline, and BoHo in the past, as well as Side Project.

But so often in looking over the Non-Equity and Equity Jeff winners, I'm surprised by how many shows I didn't see, despite the fact that I log at least 150 shows a year in my professional capacity and a few more as a "civilian."

Laura said...

No connections, but you can get the dinosaur cheap seats for sure if you do presale, code ROAR.