We are back at it again. Enjoying this nice summer breeze and time outside to catch up on writing, reading, and watching everything in sight. It's the perfect opportunity to clear up space on that watch list and even though it's not required, partake in some summer reading. These past two weeks allowed us to catch up on content and witness media that shows the glimpse behind the curtain, and what's in front of it.
#TheatreThursday included Theater on the Lake and Chicago Danztheatre Ensemble. #FollowFriday were given to Chicago Arts Partnerships in Education, Chicago Torture Justice Center, The Chicago Inclusion Project, and Interfaith Community for Detained Immigrants.
Yup, this pretty much sums up where we're at it. Let's continue.
First things first, are you caught up on the last recap? Read now.
Chewing Gum is a show that might be brief, but it's made me laugh the hardest since Fleabag. The fact that they're both penned by phenomenally talented British women is not lost on me. While British dramas always shine, their comedies aren't to be so easily dismissed, but if not held to a similar high standard. This show is the real deal showing the importance of exploring female sexuality, realizing when your boyfriend is fucking up versus sadly you, and not bowing down to white guilt or even worse, affirming stereotypes. It's a hilarious, earnest foray into asking valid questions and providing necessary storytelling.
We were head over heels for Kokandy Productions' latest smash hit musical. Check out what our writer extraordinaire, Charlene Haparamiwi, thought about this Go-Gos fueled musical about getting down with your truest, freest self. Read her thoughts now!
Windy City Playhouse's The Recommendation harbors details to build the suspense of a trifecta of prime acting. Settings shift as quickly as suspicion becomes fact from a dorm room to a rich dude's house to a prison cell. Yes, that location change by name is nothing compared to the real thing. It's impressive to see a theatre company taking the immersive experience to a different level. However, it's interesting to examine who exactly this experience is best suited for? Is there a target audience? Is it successful? Stay tuned to the blog for more thoughts.
PEN15 is as nostalgic, chippy, and vibrant as it sounds. BFFs Maya and Anna do everything together (gif is proof enough). It's so refreshing to have a female friendship to fawn over, respect, admire. In my own female friendships, I would love to attest to having a relationship so solid. Of course from the pilot their dynamic is going to be tested in the hellscape that is middle school. I'm hopeful they'll make it through and for more seasons, thank you.
Everyone knows if Red Tape Theatre is involved, it means a show that's not to be missed. In case you made the sad mistake of missing their last show, find out the details now on We Are Pussy Riot (or) Everything is P.R. Fight back!
UnReal is pretty much what it promises from episode one. The more I watch, I can't tell if this is some sort of Stockholm syndrome that I can't get out of, or I actually appreciate what this show does. That's Lifetime and reality television for you. As I've made solid ground into season two, I'm unsure if the show will ever have the glory of its first season. The second season just seems a bit too self-aware and trying to make modern day parallels instead of letting the plot come from the story rather than current events. Its lost a bit of its magic and it's become harder to stay onboard the crueler the actions of the show are. Some darkness can be alluring, but this often borders on claustrophobic. A viewing that requires breaks.
Bury Me at Dandelion Theatre is a play that makes specific choices with mixed results. What I enjoyed was this connection to exterior nature that was used to understand the unfathomable. This was a show that much like a fine steeped cup of tea, took time and even after about halfway through was mildly content. If only the words and characters were freed to live up to their potential, or make take new forms altogether.
Drop Dead Gorgeous is an enjoyable film about the cutting edge world of beauty pageants. I'm surprised this doesn't get frequent double billing with Miss Congeniality. What perhaps would make viewers skeptical is its farcical nature and fondness for satire despite feeling mostly plausible. Cut throat takes on a literal meaning here, and while it makes my naive heart feel heartbroken at points, it does produce some giggles and jaw drops. It's a good time, and ultimately awesome to see a film filled with primarily women, with some genuine moments of sisterhood.
Free Street Theater continues to demonstrate excellence in its youth empowered programming. Check out our interview with the co-directorship of their latest show at The Storyfront, M.A.T.A.: Make America Teen Already. Read away!
Is that John Mulaney and Renee Elise Goldberry suiting up for a Company reboot? We wish. It's the closest we'll get to this spoof on the Company cast recording documentary, but it's a pretty damn good taste of what could have been. Thankfully this Documentary Now episode has gifted us with a cast album that'll be available to purchase or stream as of today. It's no joke in saying that its quality is pretty on par or even surpasses the quality of the modern musical today. Now let's get that on a stage, shall we?
Anna Deavere Smith's Notes from the Fields is a must watch, read, everything. Smith is a pioneer across many fields, willing to put in the work to provide a comprehensive view on race, class, politics, and how they all are connected, not separate in the issues of today. She embodies and emulates varying perspectives, that unfortunately are not always shared. They might not be people we hear about in history books or glorified on film, but they are local heroes and activists doing the work without the glitz and accolades to show for it. Smith is a true class act, allowing her spotlight to shine on a story that demands to be shared and heard by all.
Veep feels like an opening to dealing with our innately depressing, frustrating political climate. This escapism offers much needed comedic relief and disheveled commaraderie that despite the constant chagrin reminds us to keep going. Politics is down right dirty, often illegal, and full of ego. Veep in no way shies away from this, but instead chooses to accept its reality much to our amusement. A great ensemble piece, and I look forward to seeing how it fares in growth compared to politically themed shows that share common ground.
And always remember...