Weeks 14 & 15: Dark Comedies II & Dynamic Duos
Another week means another recap. In fact, make it a double. This week we delved into another round of dark comedies because we just couldn't get it enough. The following began our voyage into discovering the power of duos. Every Ginger needs its Fred, Bonnie its Clyde, and Glinda its Elphaba.
#TheatreCrushThursday went to Hamburger Mary's and BoHo Theatre. #FollowFriday included Chicago's Diverse Comedy Shows, Trikone Chicago, BooksFirst, and Zero Waste Chicago. Let's dig into the power of comedies being dark and of charismatic couples!
You won't be able to get this song out of your head. The New Colony's Small World plops three Disney World employees in the fight for their lives as their chance at happily ever after dwindles. I found myself enjoying both the comedy and horror of seeing these three deal with the end of the world. It did make me question can it be expected to have realistic characters when thrust in extreme circumstances? While two seem to verge on being caricatures of real people, only one seemed like they were dealing with the situation like any one of us normally would. It makes it lose a bit of its steam and enjoyment.
There's no better way to start off the week then with the return of #TopFiveTuesday. I enjoy doing this brief round-up to check in what's happening in pop culture and our industry. Curating content in more ways that one is a goal I believe I'm achieving and I'm excited for future posts like this.
Russian Doll has me right where they want me. I always thought Natasha Lyonne was an underrated actress and this show allows her to shine. She manages to be both detestable and likeable in the same beat. She handles a similar absurd life event in a way that is understandable and relatable if we were in her shoes. Each episode builds on the logic of the situation and the world in a way that startles and shocks. Excited for the possibility of a season two, but akin to Big Little Lies would enjoy this season on its own as the end all and be all.
Staged readings can be sour or sweet. The Martin provides a wonderful playing space for such events to take place. I think the supporting and facilitating of new works in even its beginning stages is important to foster and make audiences aware. I'm also continuing to see trends of female characters needing to endure issues like sexual assault and predatory men, but in ways that victimize them instead of empowering them. I'm not sure if there's ways to address effects of trauma and suffering without taking up the entire play. Only time will tell.
For a play that promised to rock, Redtwist Theatre's Herland vibed with its somber beats. Check out our review here!
Missed our previous handy dandy recap? Look no further and take a glance.
It's truly lucky when you think of every play we've been given in the Rightlynd saga. Ike Holter is one of the most prolific, pressing writers this city has seen, and should be performed nationwide with pride and praise. Lottery Day is the epic conclusion of his nine plays, though it functions more as a stand alone play than a summation of the saga. I hope to one day read all of them from start to finish.
In starting out with a week of pairs, there's a tough act to follow with Meryl Streep and Shirley MacLaine. Two suberb actresses I feel perform some of their best work in Postcards from the Edge. The film doesn't try to be something it's not and depicts a mother daughter relationship whose foundation was always crumbling, but still is held together by love. Both are fiery and more effervescent the more they're in front of the screen.
When a play isn't focused on spectacle or high stakes, does it make it less monumental? Interrobang Theatre Project's Utility makes a viable case. Set in a unit set for a working middle class family, the main conflict is making sure a little girl has a good birthday party. The high stakes come from small moments of an unhappy marriage that needs to work, working multiple jobs to survive, and dealing with things taken for granted like electricity and running water. I appreciated seeing a play deal with the small day to day struggles that cause tension, albeit not the most dramatic.
Postcards went off the edge, and this duo did as well. I never knew the road trip of Thelma and Louise started because of an attempted rape. It makes the mission more motivated and understandable in a world where men have continued to fail them. Today, it often can feel like that and while there are reasons not to drive off the cliff, it can still feel tempting. The love and beauty of female friendship is not to be underestimated.
Realizing now that all of these have been sad, but mighty pairings. Postcards from the Edge, written by Carrie Fisher, takes a page or two from her life and mother's, Debbie Reynolds. Bright Lights shows a glimpse into the unfiltered, vivacious reality of the two in this HBO documentary. Both women cast bright lights in different ways in their respective careers and bond with one another. I'm always determined to learn more about both as I respect their careers, hustle, and legacies.
Consider yourself a peasant if you haven't been blessed with the supreme presence of 2 Dope Queens. What started out as a podcast turned into 4 HBO episodes which has grown to 8 due to popularity! Phoebe Robinson and Jessica Williams are solidified sisters in comedy, politics, and fabulous fashions with differing taste. Get your earbuds listening and laughing to these two speaking truths all while busting out jokes in a quick witted, storytelling manner.
We can't get enough of Phoebe Robinson. 2 Dope Queens will get you hooked, and Sooo Many White Guys will satisfy you when it's done. Now in its fourth season, Robinson invites guests that are mostly femme, POC, or queer to talk about what they're good at and ways to improve in this vastly changing, complicated world. There's also the token white guy thrown in for good measure. It's definitely not to be missed.
Some shows are so important to see you're intimidated to write about. You want to do justice, and you're not sure if your words will be enough. Read about The Ridiculous Darkness at Sideshow Theatre Company now and then go see it, while you still have time!
See you next week!