Somewhat Recommended ** While I realize that we are heading into October and what one might call the “Halloween Season”, I am not sure that this calls for a new “horror” play. The Goodman is now featuring Charise Castro Smith’s, very dark, and macabre “Feathers and Teeth” in the Owen Theatre. This is the smaller venue that is very flexible, allowing then to build and rebuild for every play. For this production, a one act, 90 minute “adventure” thay have designed the setting to be a normal stage with normal seating. The story is about a very dysfunctional family, and under the slick direction of Henry Godinez on a wonderful set (Kevin Depinet), with great lighting effects (Jesse Klug) and sound (Mikhail Fiskel) we see a wild and wooly story that I believe Smith didn’t know how to finish.
Let me explain this. I love the Goodman Theatre and what they bring to Chicago. I think that Smith had a novel idea in creating this story. A sort of “The Brady Bunch” meets “Little Shop of Horrors” and that Godinez has assembled a solid cast of actors including that amazing addition of the “Foley Artist (Carolyn Hoerdemann in action is worth the price of the ticket alone). The “Foley Artist” is the sound effects person as in old radio shows, making us hear things that are really not happening. The story takes place in the home of Arthur (deftly handled by Eric Slater) and his teen-age daughter Chris( a powerful performance by Olivia Cygan). Arthur’s wife, Ellie ( who we only meet as a shadow- Ali Burch) has recently passed away and her nurse, Carol ,now Arthur’s live-in fiancée (played to perfection by Christina Hall) may have some shared secrets with Arthur.
The other characters in this show is the nerdy neighbor Hugo (a funny performance by Jordan Brodess, who has nerd down to a “T”), who it turns out has romantic ideas about Chris. Is this play a thriller? Is this play a horror story? Is this play a farce? Is this play a monster story where the monster is not in reality the monster that ends up in the crawl space and then the walls? I certainly do not want to ruin the mystery of this story by revealing more than I must, but it is a play full of surprises. Some will feel right! Others, not-so-much!. As I stated earlier, the set is divine and the actors are all top-notch. The direction is smooth as silk given the material and despite this being a work that was developed at The Goodman two years ago and was designed to allow something different for their stage, in my opinion there is still some work to be done, so that it will appeal to a larger audience.
The story is designed to deal with realism of loss in a family and mix it with the comic touches that took place in the earlier and campy horror flicks ( way before the high technology of today’s world). The grief and anguish of the teen age girl is not truly want it is purported to be and so the feeling does not come through as it might have. The story is headlined as “Home Sweet Home…or Haunted House? I am not sure which it truly is, so you will have to judge for yourselves. The title is about the “thing” that makes its appearance early in the story and while we never see it, we always know where it is. Or do we?
Tuesday, 10/13 7:30 p.m.
Wednesdays 7:30 p.m.
Thursdays 7:30 p.m.
and on 10/8 also 2 p.m.
Fridays 8 p.m.
Saturdays 2 and 8 p.m.
Sundays 2 and 7:30 p.m.
no evening on 10/4 and 10/18
Tickets range from only $10- $40 and are available at the box office, by calling 312-443-3800 or online at www.GoodmanThetare.org/Feathers
10/7 Sign interpreted performance
10/11 Audio described performance
10/11 Touch Tour 12:30 allowing details for those who are sightless
10/18 open caption at 2 p.m. with LED dialogue
ALL Wednesday and Thursday evening performances are followed by an open discussion with actors following performance.
To see what others are saying, visit www.theatreinchicago.com, go to Review Round-up and click at “Feathers and Teeth”