Wednesday August 23rd 2017

“The Skriker”

Red Tape Theatre Company is one of our young troupes dedicated to bringing new and experimental work to it’s gymnasium stage  located in St.Peter’s Episcopal Church on the north side. It is their intent to have audiences re-imagine their world. Most of the work I have seen from this company has been interesting and well done. The talent that they bring to the stage is strong, even when the play selection has been lesser. Their current production, “The Skriker” by Caryl Churchill is a tale about a shapeshifter ( based on what I saw, a sort of witch who has the ability to change the lives of others). This role is taken on by the intriguing Sadie Rogers, who knows how to hold an audience’s attention. Her mission in this play is to destroy the lives of two impressionable women, Lily ( the lovely Carrie Drapac) and Josie (Amanda Drinkall). The notes we were given do not even come close to the actual presentation we experienced. Yes, this was an experience. In fact, it might better be called “performance art” instead of a play as the story is almost impossible to follow.

This is a “promenade” play directed by Eric Hoff. We never sit down and walk around the dimly lit auditorium as walls move from area to area and tables, which become bed are rolled from place to place. When we begin our journey we are brought to a stack of bodies where The Skriker emerges and starts to set the stage, so to speak. I understand that this is an English play, but more often than not, the use of accents impairs our ability to understand what is being said. Even more so as we march about from place to place, often far from the action because other characters are coming through doors of the movable walls. By the way, they tell us 90 minutes, no intermission, but actual running time was closer to 2 hours ( so make sure you use the loo before entering the  stage area).

Emily Guthrie’s set is very intriguing and Ellen Ranney has assembled some wild props, There is some movement ( not really choreography) by Maya Shein which adds to the mystique, but all in all, this is more theatrical experience over art as the story was unclear. Izuma Inaba did some clever costuming and there were some very quick changes by Ms Rogers, who impressed me with her acting. If only she had a better script to work with. While I admire the company taking on a challenge of this magnitude, I am not sure that they have selected the right script for the talent they assembled, but for you adventurers, it might be fun!

“The Skriker” will continue at Red Tape located at 621 West Belmont, through October 20th with performances as follows:

Thursdays,Fridays,Saturdays and Sundays at 8 p.m.  I suggest you come early and have a drink in the lounge as late-comers may not get in.

There is an “industry show” on Monday, the 24th (September) at 8 p.m. as well.

Tickets are $25 ($15 fro students and Industry). Seniors may not be able to walk around for two hours in the dark, but they do have a few stools that can be carried)

To order tickets visit www.redtapetheatre.org or visit the box office before curtain.

To see other reviews, visit www.theatreinchicago.com, go to review round-up and click on ” The Skriker”

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