Tuesday August 22nd 2017

“Chesapeake”

Remy Bumppo, in this election year has a mix of political satire and “performance Art” in Lee Blessing’s playful one man show, “Chesapeake” now on the main stage at The Greenhouse Theater Center. Greg Matthew Anderson, a highly energetic performer takes us on a “trip” as a performance artist, who leaves his little town life for the big city. Away from his rural life, one where he cannot be who he really is and his folksy senator, one Therm Pooley, he finds that , this dog toting Senator is going to take away his foundation grant as well as try to cut costs by eliminating NEA ( National Endowment Funding) in total. The Senator is never without his Chesapeake retriever, Lucky and so for revenge, Kerr ( Anderson’s character) plans a dog napping so he can control the Senator, but as it turns out, his plan goes astray and the universe takes on its own revenge, on Kerr and the Senator.

Directed by Shawn Douglass, on an almost bare stage, this is a political comedy where the actor and the lights are the keyss to its success. What takes place is an unreal situation, one that brings Kerr and Pooley closer than they would ever have anticipated.. The twist in Blessing’s tale is one that I won’t reveal, as it is best to see it for yourself, but it is an uncanny series of incidents that bring two opposing views to light and what takes place is very comical. Anderson’s energy and boyish charms as he goes through the changes Blessing has created are a masterpiece of “performance Art” in itself. His transformation is one that will have you laughing as well as thinking. Blessing opes up our eyes and senses to a possible inner-life of “Man’s Best Friend” and shows us how politicians use stories and scapegoats to control what we, the people, think about hot topics.

For an actor to be on a stage for almost two hours, telling a story in which he must take on several personalities and one not human, is a task that can be one that both director and actor might fear, but in this case, Douglass and Anderson have met the challenge and exceeded the expectations I had after reading some of the preliminary notes about the play, or should I say, storyline! While I felt, this might have been better as a 90-100 minute production with no intermission, the two hours felt much shorter and the intermission was not as much a mood breaker as it might have been. Again, I credit the slick direction and marvelous delivery along with the mood-setting lighting by JR Lederle for making this a wonderful  theatrical experience.

 

“Chesapeake” will continue at The Greenhouse Theater Center located at 2257 N. Lincoln Avenue  through April 29th, with performances as follows:

Wednesdays thru Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 2:30 p.m.

Matinees are : Saturday,April 15th at 2:30 p.m. with a 1:30 “between the lines” discussion and April 28th at 4 p.m.

Tickets range from $30-$40 (“Between the Lines” $45 included) and can be ordered by calling 773-404-7336 or online at www.remybumppo.org

Student tickets are available at $20 by phone and in person ( with ID) and $15 “rush” tickets ( subject to availability) may be purchased one hour prior to performance at box office.

Discounted parking at $6 on weekends and weekdays after 5 is available at Children’s memorial Hospital Garage located 1/2 block north of the theater

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