Our next episode of Baudelaire In A Box, “Unquenched,” features new compositions from TEN composers, with contributions by Oobleck Regulars Jeff Dorchen, Chris Schoen, and Mickle Maher (who has written translations being set to music by Ronnie Kuller and Mark Messing. The list of composers is rounded out by Reid Coker (The Judy Green, Billy Blake and The Vagabonds), David Costanza (Art of Flying), Annie Higgins (Weathermen, Singing In The Abbey), Angela James, Abraham Levitan (Baby Teeth, Shame That Tune, Nerds On Tour), and Joey Spilberg (LamalJamal, Schtedoidish).
Panoramic scrolls conceived, illustrated, and operated by, as always, Oobleck co-founder Dave Buchen.
The show hits Links Hall in October. Tickets available later this month.
After three acclaimed runs in Chicago, Theater Oobleck presents the New York City premiere of Mickle Maher’s THERE IS A HAPPINESSTHATMORNING IS at The Tank, as part of their annual Flint & Tinder theater series. Featuring the original cast (yay!) and carpet (shudder).
The show runs September 11–27. TICKETSARENOW ON SALE.
After an excellent first week of shows, Song About Himself is back this week for the final five performances of its run at Theater on the Lake. These are what may be your last few chances to see this show. Come join us, won’t you?
THEATER-GOERS: If you’re finding buying tickets for Song About Himself online a chore due to byzantine rigmarole, to avoid the hassle call: 312.742.7994
Leave a message and someone will get back to you within 24 hours to confirm.
Or just show up at Berger park! TOTL sets aside a certain number of seats for walk-ups every night.
Our final Sunday performance, April 26, of Song About Himself will be a benefit for Chicago-based Literacy Works.
Literacy Works’ mission is to strengthen adult literacy, parent education, and workforce development programs by developing and providing innovative training and knowledge-sharing opportunities for professionals and volunteers.
50% of what you pay for your ticket will go to this fine organization. Advance tickets are still available.
The Chicago Trib’s Nina Metz gives Song About Himself three stars, saying:
Ultimately Maher is digging his finger around in that gaping hole of what it means to connect with another person — the wistful, persistent desire for it, and the technology that we’ve come to rely on to make so much of it possible.
Chicagoland’s ten-year-old theater-critic sensation (and actress in her own right) Ada Grey came to see Song About Himself and posted this thoughtful review.
People who would like this show are people who like poetry, lengthy posts, and clarinets. I think people should definitely go see this show. It is eye-opening and it will blow your mind. And I actually think that while I was writing the review I understood it even better than when I was watching it. So, I think it would be good if when you got home you could write down some ideas that you had about the show and you can think about those ideas for a little while.
Full disclosure: Ada Grey’s dad, John Henry Roberts, is an Oobleck Irregular, having appeared in The Golden Election by Marilyn Quayle and her Sister and Theater Oobleck and our staged reading of The Forbidden Bestsellers of Pre-Revolutionary France.
While the piece pulls from Walt Whitman’s poetry, no knowledge of the source material is necessary to glean deep, impactful meaning from the show. It is a rich psychological and metaphysical landscape through which to travel, even for those not well-versed in “Leaves of Grass.”
The Chicago Reader’s Justin Hayford weighs in on Theater Oobleck’s new play:
In typical fashion, Maher creates a world of ridiculous, ominous inadequacy, given mesmerizing expression in this Theater Oobleck premiere…
Throughout, Maher borrows specific lines and images from Song of Myself—ironically, a work fundamentally about self-reliance—as well as Whitman’s thematic spirals, intoxicating rhythms, and circuitous plainspokenness, all rendered with great clarity and warmth by Oobleck’s cast: Guy Massey, Colm O’Reilly, and Diana Slickman, who, astonishingly, work without a director, as Oobleck has done for 26 years…
Imagine, if you will, that you are looking at a computer screen or other internet-enabled device. Why, it’s a message from your friends at Theater Oobleck! Imagine that you are excited. So excited, in fact, that you begin to make a list of all of your hopes and dreams for Theater Oobleck in the coming year.
Did your imaginary list include the March 27th world premiere of a new dystopian science fiction play by Mickle Maher, written entirely in “ornate verse,” derived from a corruption of the work of Walt Whitman? Did it include a new episode of our epic cantastoria cycle Baudelaire In A Box, with music by Bobby Conn and Monica Boubou? Did it include a full-length satirical clown show about a plague-infested cruise ship adrift at sea, performed in both San Juan, Puerto Rico, and Chicago’s Hermosa neighborhood? Did it include plans to bring the 2012 hit There Is A Happiness That Morning Is to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival? Great! Now imagine that this message on your screen outlines precisely such a theatrical season, in tantalizing detail. Visualize how that makes you feel. Pay close attention in particular to any notable sensations in the body—say, a buzzing in the extremities, a quickening pulse, or a trembling lip.
Now please imagine that you are thinking back upon all the moments you shared with Theater Oobleck during the past year. Imagine that you are lovingly lingering on each memory. Imagine that there is no rush. Did your imaginary recollections include two (two!) new episodes of Baudelaire In A Box? Did it include a free outdoor collaboration with El Circo Nacional de Puerto Rico in Humboldt Park? Did it include a four-week residency at The Hideout, showcasing writers, actors, and musicians from throughout Oobleck’s 26-year history? Wonderful. You’re doing great! Now imagine that this on-screen missive reminds you of precisely those warm, expansive, vivifying experiences. As before, visualize how this makes you feel. Feel it in your body. Feel it in your heart. Especially the cockles.
Now imagine that none of this is in your imagination. Imagine that the imaginary message on your screen is in fact an actual on-screen-message, enjoining you to financially support Oobleck’s unique and often foolhardy theatrical endeavors in the coming year. Imagine that you are able and willing to support our mission — presenting new works, without a director, on a pay-what-you can basis — with a tax-deductible donation through paypal or by sending us a check. Most importantly, imagine—really visualize in your mind’s eye — how grateful we are for your ongoing support of our work, and how much we look forward to seeing your face in the audience in 2015.
This seventh episode of Theater Oobleck’s Baudelaire in a Box sets lively new English translations of poems from the 1861 edition of Charles Baudelaire’s The Flowers of Evil to witty acoustic songs played by a six-piece ensemble…
The translations can be playful too—somehow I doubt Baudelaire’s original text uses “hummus” for a rhyme. Only once, on Sad Brad Smith’s rendition of “Grieving and Wandering,” does the troupe match bleak music to bleak verses, and the effect is so wrenchingly mournful it’s almost startling.
Big news! Theater Oobleck has just received our second grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. This one will support our ongoing collaboration with El Circo Nacional de Puerto Rico, which will continue with shows in San Juan, Puerto Rico in January and May, and a brand new Chicago show in June: SOS: A Decameron Clown Cruise.
Martha is also currently co-editor of the Sunday edition of the on-line magazine The Rumpus.
Dave Buchen’sWhy Is a Tiger Tiger? is back in print, and his hand-printed 2015 Calendars are ready to be mailed to you. You can order these from his website, where you can click on the paypal link.
New productions of plays Mickle Maher wrote for Oobleck recently wrapped up in DC and Cleveland. The WSC Avant Bard production of There Is a Happiness That Morning Is garnered a nice rave in Broadway World. And the Cleveland Plain Dealer called Spirits to Enforce (in the Cleveland Public Theatre production) a “nimble, surreal comedy directed with smarts and a puckish sense of the absurd” in their must-read review.
Diana Slickman is in Jet Black Chevrolet at the side project theater. Get your tickets, and see the great reviews from the Reader (“The talented Diana Slickman”) and Trib (“Slickman and Koon are terrific”).
She is also featured in a new anthology, Bare-Knuckled Lit: The Best of Write Club from Hope and Nonthings books. You can buy your very own copy at a book-release event (at the Hideout, again), 7pm December 16, a show that will feature our own David Isaacson. That’s right, this show is directly before the latest episode of Baudelaire in a Box, The King of Rain. Come for Write Club, stay for Oobleck.
And speaking of Baudelaire in a Box, we would like to direct your attention to a couple great reviews that former participants in this mega-project have been getting. Lindsey Noel-Whiting, who sang the songs of Jeff Dorchen in Episode 5: Possession, is currently sharing the role of Alice in Lookingglass Alice, and got a great review in the Trib.
And back in September, Kate Douglas (from Episode 6: Elevation) got this nice notice in The New York Times.