Off-Chekhov Festival | Constellation | Theater & Performance | Chicago Reader

Off-Chekhov Festival Closing (Theater and Galleries) Member Picks The Short List (Theater)

When: Thursdays-Sundays. Continues through July 24 2011

Back in the mid-1980s, John Houseman's Acting Company commissioned seven important American playwrights--Maria Irene Fornes, John Guare, and David Mamet included--to write a play apiece based on stories by Anton Chekhov. Produced in Chicago at the Goodman Theatre, the results were wildly various and utterly fascinating. Now the Neapolitans are trying basically the same thing on a much reduced scale. Four not-so-well-known playwrights have penned works short enough to be presented in a single two-hour program. And the results this time? Not so good. Only one of the four pieces--Michael Hardstark's The Bully--is really engaging, and that's largely thanks to Jeff Ginsberg's quirky, resourceful direction. Of the others, one (Olivia Arieti's The Teacher) is a nails-on-blackboard attempt to out-Chekhov Chekhov, another (Cory Tamler's What You Wanted) is pretty much inscrutable, and the last (Ryder Thornton's Wolf and Burns) is nicely staged by Susan Padveen but implausible on its own terms. --Tony Adler

Price: $10-$20

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