Timeline Theatre Company has brought Sarah Ruhl’s IN THE NEXT ROOM, OR THE VIBRATOR PLAY back to Chicago in a moment in which it has undeniable relevance and impact—and a magnificent cast to carry out out Mechelle Moe’s direction. This play fundamentally contemplates one woman’s needs and wants in the wake of the invention of the electric light—and a new electrical invention designed to stimulate women’s bodies as a cure for hysteria. Through the journey of Catherine Givings (beautifully played by Rochelle Therrien in a charmingly, spirited, and ultimately deeply felt manner) as she contemplates her husband Dr. Givings’ (Anish Jethmalani) administrations of this new treatment in the next room, Ruhl opens up a window into a timely discussion about making women’s private desires openly expressed.
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If you like your musicals dark—tragically, unceasingly dark—with a complicated score that’s well sung, BoHO Theatre’s MARIE CHRISTINE is just the production to see as the fall days grow ever shorter. Under Lili-Anne Brown’s keen direction with spirited choreography from Breon Arzell (who is becoming an ever more deft choreographer), Michael John LaChiusa’s show charts one wronged woman’s journey as she goes to dire lengths to seek revenge when her lover abandons her. Based on the Greek tragedy MEDEA, the titular Marie Christine is a privileged New Orleans woman with a gift of voodoo. She falls in love with the ship captain Dante, who later abandons her when he decides to pursue a political career and can no longer be seen with a woman of mixed race. Thus, though MARIE CHRISTINE takes place in the 1880s, the show’s contemplation of one woman’s desire to gain power in a society and to set herself on equal footing with a lover that will not fully accept her has great resonance with the present.
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Under the deft direction of Audrey Francis, Steep Theatre Company treats audiences to an intimate, intense Chicago premiere of Ayad Akhtar’s THE INVISIBLE HAND.
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