Upcoming Theatre

About Face Theatre is pleased to present the world premiere of BRAVE LIKE THEM, a punk-infused exploration of the underground “riot grrrl” movement of the 1990s, devised and performed by members of the About Face Youth Theatre Ensemble and co-directed by AFT Education and Outreach Director Ali Hoefnagel and Education Coordinator Kieran Kredell. BRAVE LIKE THEM will play seven performances only, July 26 – August 6, 2017 at the Pride Arts Center (The Buena), 4147 N. Broadway in Chicago. Tickets for BRAVE LIKE THEM ($20 or Pay-What-You-Can) are currently available at aboutfacetheatre.com or by calling (773) 784-8565. 
 
This year, the About Face Youth Theatre Ensemble, ages 13-23, investigates how systems of oppression function within queer subcultures – specifically the underground “riot grrrl” movement of the 1990s that gave rise to bands such as Bikini Kill, Bratmobile and Sleater-Kinney. While the music and literature of this movement sought to forge a space for all girls – typically characterized by an unapologetic expression of female power and an aggressive dismantling of the patriarchy – the voices at its forefront were almost exclusively white and middle-class. BRAVE LIKE THEM aims to celebrate the “riot grrrl” movement for all the good that came out of it – but also dissect its inherent racial and class discrepancies.
 
Comments Co-Director Ali Hoefnagel, “This play is loud, sweaty and unapologetically queer as we shock ourselves with our own honesty, get messy with the truth and be brave like them.”
 
The production team for BRAVE LIKE THEM includes: Scott Penner (scenic design), Jeanine Fry (costume design), Kaili Story (lighting design), Brandon Reed (sound design), Meghan Erxleben (props design), Erin Kilmurray (movement direction), Nick Davio (music direction), Donny Acosta (asst. director), Liv Haman (asst. costume design), Kasey Trouba (stage manager) and Serena Dully (asst. stage manager).
 
PRODUCTION DETAILS:
 
Title: BRAVE LIKE THEM
Devised and performed by: About Face Youth Theatre Ensemble
Co-Directors: AFT Education and Outreach Director Ali Hoefnagel and Education Coordinator Kieran Kredell
 
Location: Pride Arts Center (The Buena), 4147 N. Broadway. Chicago
Dates: Previews: Wednesday, July 26 at 7 pm and Thursday, July 27 at 7 pm
Regular run: Saturday, July 29 – Sunday, August 6, 2017
Curtain Times: Wednesday, Thursday, Friday & Saturday at 7 pm; Sunday at 3 pm
Tickets: $20 or Pay-What-You Can. No one will be turned away for lack of funds. Tickets are currently available at aboutfacetheatre.com or by calling (773) 784-8565.

 

Published in Upcoming Theatre

Pop Waits, currently being performed at the Neo-Futurarium, is a smart and innovative production that takes audience members on a journey into the psyche of rock stars Iggy Pop and Tom Waits. Co-created by Molly Brennan and Malic White, the two are also featured in this well-written play/musical, each giving dynamic performances that are as much high energy as they are genuine and nothing short of sensational. 

Upon entering the theatre, one is met with a couple musician dudes strolling around the stage with guitars area joined in song by a female accomplice whose velvety smooth voice is immediately attention grabbing. Song lyrics are being written on a chalkboard that creates the stage’s background.  Brennan and White casually sift about nearby talking with audience members before taking their seats, possibly even at the two-top tables set up along the edge of the stage. It’s casual yet interest in what will happen next already peaks. Not long after, the band kicks in and we are thrust into the minds and makeup of Waits and Pop as interpreted by the show’s creators.   

Brennan and White delve into the depression and pain of each rock icon explaining how it is transferred into music of which so many of us have identified. The possibility is thrown around that each have hidden behind their rock personas to avoid being…well, themselves – everyday people. 

Brennan more than admirably portrays Tom Waits (raspy voice and all) while White plays a keyed up Iggy Pop that can be electrifying at times. Aided by a fantastic band that features Elisa Carlson, Nick Davio and Spencer Meeks, the production often alternates from an engaging, and often humorous piece of storytelling to a full on concert in what we can imagine would be CBGB’s in its heyday – crowd surfing and all. Making the show even more entertaining is the fact that Carlson, Davio and Meeks frequently trade instruments and add a few other sounds such as the violin and accordion, showing a great range of musical versatility. 

Though drawing several laughs and musically pleasing, serious topic matter is explored in depth such as deep depression and suicidal ideation. What do you do when you fear seeing a therapist because an expert opinion on how fucked up you are will only confirm that you’d rather be dead than numbly plowing through this world? Yes, there are a few hard-hitting moments but plenty of laughs and music make this an extremely balanced production. 

As the show begins, we are alerted that the right to five Tom Waits songs for use in the show have been denied for the time being. That said, a handful of songs (and very good ones at that) written by Molly Brennan and Spencer Meeks are inserted into the production that fit ever so perfectly into the Pop Waits’ theme such as “Heaven’s A Bar in Chicago”, “Witches” and “Ode to Gretel”. There are also several Iggy Pop favorites that are performed including “The Passenger”, “Search and Destroy” and “Lust for Life”.

Directed by Halena Kays, Pop Waits is a very unique theatre experience that is thought provoking, darkly humorous and even audience interactive at times. Brennan and White pour their hearts into their roles taking on these tortured rock stars with a raw passion that Pop and Waits themselves would certainly be proud of.

Highly entertaining, Pop Waits flat out rocks. Pop Waits is being performed at the Neo-Futurarium through March 12th. For more show information visit www.NeoFuturists.org.    

 

Published in Theatre Reviews

 

 

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