peteg's blog - noise - theatre - 2015 04 09 PenelopeOPenelope

Theatre Y: Penelope O Penelope

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$22.00, bought 2015-03-29. The all-day rain and thunder put me off riding my bike, so I took the Blue line from State/Lake to Logan Square, and ignoring local-from-work Mark C.'s suggestions, had a hot chocolate at New Wave Coffee and a serviceable dinner at Trike. On the way in a bloke took a look at my tshirt and said "Dirty Three, eh? Jim White." — but wasn't interested in further discussion. I guess he may have caught the drummer of indie choice on a recent tour, which I just found out about, sniff.

Opening night, which of course I was going to be at after their fabulous Happy Days. This long piece is split into two acts and overstuffed with references to similarly trainspot. I can only imagine how flowery it is in the the original French. It opens promisingly with Melissa Lorraine splayed over a sewing table as Dinah, lamenting the absence of her husband Elias (Rich Holton) for two decades, Nabakov style: fire of my loins, etc., and wondering how long she can hold out against her son-of-incestuous-union landlord Ante (Kevin V. Smith). Confusingly Ante has a beef with her bloke because Elias killed Ante's father. I think. Her son Theos (Holton again) returns to much elation. Daiva Bhandari plays Nuritsa, Elias's mother in spirit form, who instead of bringing calm and an aversion to violence, encourages him to stick his sword in Ante. Catalina Vasile appears in video footage as Odsessa, a goddess of something-or-other. Lorraine has another turn as Sofia, a piece of fluff that gives Ante something to play with while he taunts Elias for being poor. It's the Odyssey shuffled into modern times.

The play closed with some evocative, interpretive tango, afterwhich beer (Heineken light, gack) and the customary chatter ensued. I walked home abuzz, wondering what the work will become as the run unwinds. There is, perhaps, too much raw material here. Hope lies with the excellent cast.

Justin Hayford at the Reader. A less generous one from Alan Bresloff, who presumably didn't stick around for the after-show beer and chat. Alex Huntsberger.