Wednesday January 24th 2018

“Moon Shot: A Race to Space” Reviewed by Carol Moore

chicagochildrens Recommended *** I had planned to take my granddaughter Molly, who is 7, to see Theatre Unspeakable’s “Moon Shot: A Race to Space” at Chicago Children’s Theatre.  Turns out it was good she couldn’t go because she’s just too young for “Moon Shot”.  She might have been initially intrigued by the performance on a platform, but she’d have been bored within minutes because she doesn’t have a frame of reference for all that history.  I thought it was interesting and creative, but I’ve lived through it.  I would recommend “Moon Shot” for tweens and teens only.  3 ½ Spotlights.

Theatre Unspeakable reduces years of history to an hour-long production which is done entirely on a 21-square foot platform.  They specialize in taking big events and putting them into small spaces – hence the platform.  I saw their production of “The American Revolution” a few years ago and I found it fascinating.

I thought I would see seven actors using every physical tool at their disposal – words, noises, gestures, even their bodies, to reenact the space race.  What I saw was considerably more.  The performance started with a pocket history of astronomy – mapping the stars, discovering the planets, naming the constellations and developing the telescope, including names like Galileo, Kopernicus, and Isaac Newton.

They didn’t get to the space race until they’d covered the invention of the airplane, World Wars I & II, the German Rocket program, American vs Russian determination to nab those German scientists, Dr. Wernher Von Braun, President Kennedy – an unnecessary reference (in my opinion) to Marilyn Monroe.  When they – at long last – get to the race, they whip through Sputnik, a Russian monkey in space, NASA, Yuri Gagarin, the Apollo astronauts, the first American in space, and finally Neil Armstrong, first man to set foot on the moon. moonshot-2

The seven actors – David Gordezky (Yuri Gagarin), Quenna Lené (Janet Armstrong), Sarah Liken (Valentina Tereshkova), Aaron Rustebakke (Neil Armstrong), Rejinal Simon (Sergei Korolev), Orion Lay-Sleeper (Wernher Von Braun) and Vanessa Valliere (President Kennedy), all play multiple characters in addition to those listed above.

“Moon Shot: A Race to Space” runs in rep with “Another Snowy Day with Beatrix Potter” at the Ruth Page Center for the Arts, 1016 N. Dearborn, Chicago.

Running time is about just under an hour, no intermission.

moonshot-smRemaining performances are Tuesday through Friday at 10:00 am; Saturday at 2:30 and 4:30 pm; and Sunday at 2:30 pm.  Tickets range from $10-$39.  Parking is available at a reduced rate at the Newberry Plaza, 1030 N. State Street with validation from the Ruth Page Center desk. FYI (872) 222-9555 or www.chicagochildrenstheatre.org

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