All The Best New Dramatic Works Coming To Chicago This Fall
The Second City has always been known for its trailblazing new theatrical works and idiosyncratic adaptions of classic drama, but with all this culture at your doorstep, the amount of choices can often be paralyzing, to say the least.
Luckily for you, I’ve spent the last two months with my metaphorical ear to the ground and my literal face pressed up against Chicago Tribune theatre critic Chris Jones’s car window screaming, “CHRISSY-BABY, YOU GOTTA TELL ME WHAT THE GOOD PLAYS ARE THIS AUTUMN!”
Following a particularly unpleasant removal of my person from the hood of Jones’s beloved 2009 Hyundai Sonata and several back alley dust-ups with Sun-Times critic Hedy Weiss about who got first pick of the Tribune Building’s dumpsters, I’ve compiled this list of new and exciting works debuting in Chicago this fall:
The Thing Of It Is Is That It Is, by Neil Bombaucher
Five hours before his wedding starts, a man sits in confessional with his pastor agonizing over whether or not to leave his fiancée at the altar because having to be a husband would really force him to cut down on the amount of time he spends riding dirt bikes with his friends.
This Town Is Our Town: A New Revival,by Lincoln DuPrix
An adaption that aims to smooth some of the rough edges off Thornton Wilder’s 1938 play Our Town by setting it in 1960s Greenwich Village and giving every member of the cast a banjo, mandolin, dulcimer, or other Appalachian mountain person instrument that they will use to sing folk standards to unwitting audience members during each of the intermissions despite repeated entreaties for them to stop.
HorsePlay, by Iosefka Blazkowicz
This is a powerful new work that seeks to answer the age old question, “Horses: sure, they’re majestic and powerful, and you could get lost in those deep, nut-brown eyes forever, but would you ever want to take one on a date to the Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse?” to which the answer is a resounding “no, not really.”
The Title Of A Mountain Goats Song, by Guthrie Wadard
This work is so obviously based on the thematic content of John Darnielle’s 25 year catalog that from the moment the characters are referred to as “The Alpha Couple” 12 minutes in to when the lights come up at the play’s conclusion and they start playing “No Children” over the house speakers, you’ll turn to your theater buddy and go, “yes, the point of the play we’ve just watched was to be an extended reference to the band, The Mountain Goats.”
A Body Of Pea(ce), by Tinatin Kiguradze
Absurdist farce about a local nobody who trips acid in her basement, gets adopted by her own dog through a clerical mix-up and travels through time meeting (and falling out of favor with) various historical figures, not necessarily in that order.
We Were Heroes, by Michelle Qin
A poignant slice-of-life work that examines the protean and often heartbreaking dynamics of teen friendship as interpreted through four friends’ long-running game of a pen-and-paper role-playing game that we may reasonably assume but never outright confirm to be Dungeons & Dragons because of the vice-like stranglehold Wizards of the Coast exerts over that particular intellectual property.
The Fellow Of Methods and the Red Gentleman Redeem Sir Chubert, adapted by Ashley Evans
Clifford the Methodical and his manservant Red Reginald scheme to keep their friend Sir Chubert from finding out his wife has been unfaithful to him after he’s thrown in debtor’s prison, all while avoiding a local street urchin who tries to enlist the duo’s help in various undesirable tasks. Revival of a restoration drama originally by Eliot Dryden.
The Man & The Mole & The Mountain & The Moon, by Billy Goat Dramatic Works
A bunch of symmetrically-featured central casting dudes between 5’10” and 6’2” decided they’d have a much easier time being an indie-folk band if they also pretended to be a theatre company, and no one calls them on it because we don’t live in a progressive society.
Schema Of Indifference Or, “And They All Danced Gaily On Into The Gloaming (Musings On A Theme),” by Barbar Yaccarino
A man traps himself in a public restroom stall for three days.
Hours, by Kyle Lohengrin
Two interchangeable male leads with dubious motivation argue about money while a female ingénue provides color commentary to no one about how there aren’t enough drugs in mid-80s Brooklyn to combat her social ennui.
A Real Clusterfuck Of A Play That Is, On Paper, A Reimagining Of All’s Well That Ends Well, adapted by Rance Buchanan
Okay so, there’s a lot here that points to it being an adaption of Shakespeare’s All’s Well That Ends Well, except that it takes place on Venus during a 1950s-style beach boogie party, and a good half of the characters have been renamed Balthus Bloor, which makes it really hard to follow the plot. Also most of the play’s narrative is preoccupied with this new subplot Buchanan added where Bertram goes to a bunch of quack doctors to get an illegal salve for his fibromyalgia and gets thrown in jail for predicting the Cuban Missile Crisis.
My Good Friend Who Is Not A Famous Author That You Know, by Ishmael Boaz
A self-critical and depressive playwright provides a brutal look at his own struggles with envy through the lens of a fictionalized version of his relationship with his college roommate, who certainly isn’t a real author whose name definitely doesn’t rhyme with “Monathan Mafran Moer.”