Juliet | Royal George Theatre Center | Theater & Performance | Chicago Reader

Juliet Member Picks The Short List (Theater) Recommended Closing (Theater and Galleries)

When: Fri., Sept. 10, 8 p.m., Sat., Sept. 11, 8 p.m., Sun., Sept. 12, 3 p.m., Thu., Sept. 16, 8 p.m., Fri., Sept. 17, 8 p.m., Sat., Sept. 18, 5 & 8 p.m., Sun., Sept. 19, 3 p.m., Thu., Sept. 23, 8 p.m., Fri., Sept. 24, 8 p.m., Sat., Sept. 25, 5 & 8 p.m., Sun., Sept. 26, 3 p.m., Thu., Sept. 30, 8 p.m., Fri., Oct. 1, 8 p.m., Sat., Oct. 2, 5 & 8 p.m. and Sun., Oct. 3, 3 p.m. 2010

Playwright Andras Visky drew on his family history for this powerful 2006 monologue. In 1958 his clergyman father was arrested in communist Romania, convicted of "organization against socialist public order," and sentenced to 22 years hard labor. Soon after, two-year-old Andras was sent along with his mother and six older siblings to a gulag, where they stayed--sleeping on straw and eating boiled alfalfa--until 1964. The character onstage is Andras's mother. It's the time of her captivity and she wants to die. In fact, she says early on, "death is freedom's only form." Yet her humor, faith, love, rage, sorrow, formidable intelligence, and natural dignity all argue against that notion. The piece ends up being life-affirming in the truest sense--as the end result of a clear-eyed, unrelenting journey to the heart of things. Directed by Karin Coonrod, Melissa Hawkins's 70-minute performance is dancerly but also busy. It could use a great deal more stillness. Even so, certain moments of physicality--such as a hand-puppet version of the balcony scene from Romeo and Juliet--are stunning, and Hawkins has the presence, conviction, and precision to make a very difficult performance vivid. --Tony Adler

Price: $15-$25


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