Tuesday August 22nd 2017

“The Feast: An Intimate Tempest”

Recommended*** Chicago’s theater scene is more than just a lot of theaters large and small, but in fact, is a community; a community where the theater companies respect each other and are not fearful of working with the others. For the theater world, competition just makes them improve their product.This being said, it is no surprise to see the esteemed Chicago Shakespeare Theater on Navy Pier collaborate with  the more modernistic and often zany Redmoon Company in a new look at Shakespeare’s “The Tempest” and its character  Prospero ( brilliantly handled by John Judd). I will say this 75 minute or so production makes a lot more sense if you know “The Tempest”, a story filled with revenge and forgiveness.

This story written by Jessica Thebus and Frank Maugeri, takes place long after the original and at this time Prospero’s magic is geared towards revenge. He has recreated his world with his magic and attempts to relive all of the past with his desired results with the aid of  Caliban ( the powerful Adrian Danzig, of 500 Clown fame) and Ariel( Samuel Taylor, another strong performer) whom he has promised to release once he is at peace. With his magic axe, his drawings, and puppets ( an incredible assortment designed by Jesse Mooney-Bullock and Andrea Everman), he has Ariel and Caliban stage the action as he recalls it , or wants to recall it, stopping their action when the results do not please him.

This World Premiere piece, which was developed in workshops throughout Chicago area theaters, is a cleverly directed show by its co-writers, who one can see have their hearts and souls into every minute. The set by Neil Verplank is simplistic, yet allows for our actors to be seen from all areas of the Upstairs theater at CST and allows for great flexible movement ( in particular Messrs. Danzig and Taylor). Now, Prospero is in full control. And yet, the question arises, can he evr have complete control over the outcome, so at last he can find the peace he seeks?

On this particular evening, at a dinner feast, he does all that he can to at last get what he seeks- as an audience, we are privileged to have this exciting experience, well written and crafted and played to perfection by three talented men ( and another puppeteer, who is for the most part unseen, Dustin Valenta). This is a story of emotion and one that allows us to do some soul searching of our own existence- to look at our lives and see it for what it really is, not what we would like it to be.

Even if you are not one to care about Shakespeare, this experience is one that you should partake of. It is short, has understandable language and a unique way of telling the story. “The Feast” will continue at CST located at Navy Pier through March 11th. Tickets range in cost from $35 and are available at the box office, by phone at 312-595-5600 or online at www.chicagoshakes,com/feast where you can also see the complete schedule of performances.

There is discounted parking ( 40% off) at the enclosed lot, but make sure you bring your ticket to the theater for validation.

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