Words by Mickle Maher, music by Chris Schoen.Fall Down by Radio Oobleck
“ There Is a Happiness That Morning Is confirms again Theater Oobleck’s reputation as one of the most creative and original troupes in town. FUNNY, WITTY, LITERATE, and PROFOUND… It’s the actors who make it a slam-dunk” -Windy City Times
“one of the year’s most extraordinary offerings that you cannot afford to miss. Genius writing requires genius acting and this spellbinding ensemble realizes the peculiar reality of the story with fascinating and riveting effect.” -Chicago Stage Review
“Find a stranger or more thought-provoking evening and it’s bound to be another Oobleck show.” -WBEZ
“This play explores the depths of romantic involvement in a way that engages and thrills the audience… I expected great things from There Is a Happiness That Morning Is, and I wasn’t disappointed. You won’t be either.” -Gapers Block
“Maher’s ludicrous, heartbreaking There Is a Happiness That Morning Is…is his most powerful play to date.
Three of Chicago’s most intelligent, flexible fringe actors make up the cast… and whether ruminating on 18th-century poetry, academic minutiae, or love’s transience, they make Maher’s intricate, demanding text ring true at nearly every turn.”
“Goosed by precise, masterful performances, Maher’s text is almost endlessly engaging and frequently hilarious… It’s a tantalizing examination of love’s dark secrets.”
Monica Westin lays it out for you:
“This is Oobleck at their best: an unorthodox premise that oscillates between rapid-fire madcap humor and unexpected enlightenment, with playwright Mickle Maher’s rhymed verse a study in contrast between passion and wit.”
There Is a Happiness That Morning Is photos by John Sisson.
Theater Oobleck makes its Indiana debut, with this one-night-only performance of The Hysterical Alphabet.
The details: The University of Notre Dame (co-sponsored by Gender Studies Program) presents The Hysterical Alphabet, Wednesday, February 16, 2011, 8 pm, at Browning Cinema, DeBartolo Performing Arts Center.
It is free, but is a ticketed event. For tickets phone 574-631-2800 or visit performingarts.nd.edu.
More details are at the Gender Studies website
This hit show — a collaboration between author Terri Kapsalis, video-collagist Danny Thompson, and sound artist John Corbett — is currently touring American campuses. So far it has been seen at Bates College, the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Clark University, the Rhode Island School of Design, and Emory College.
An appreciation of the performance at Emory is here … to quote:
“In a refreshingly non-didactic, yet pedagogical performance, Theater Oobleck’s The Hysterical Alphabet, is an example of what a 21st-century hybrid of art and scholarship might be.”
In addition, following its Chicago premiere, the work was reviewed in Newcity.
“Theatre Oobleck’s “The Hysterical Alphabet” is a beautifully nuanced mixture of historical treatise, medical discourse and poetic archive, chronicling the sometimes hilarious, often horrifying saga of the “female malady” that is hysteria throughout the centuries. Oobleck has remounted their inspired multimedia presentation at the Chopin Theatre, after premiering last fall in a one-night-only showing at the Gene Siskel Film Center. Terry Kapsalis’s remarkable text, an ABC’s of women and their wily wombs (now available in book form with fantastic drawings by Gina Litherland), is the axis material, but accompanied by Danny Thompson’s stunning video “documentary,” and John Corbett’s gratifying sound design, the sum transforms into something greater than its (private) parts. The three artists enter quietly, without fanfare, and take seats at a long table before a large projection screen. Aided by microphones, a computer/projector, record player and numerous sound folio devises, the performance/lecture takes off, with Kapsalis reading matter-of-factly, almost demurely, her lyrical chronology of ailment, while Thompson frenzy of found and original video images unfurl to the tunes (and crackles, cries and whistles) of Corbett’s manic soundscape. The trio packs an astounding amount of information into little more than an hour’s time—delivering a lesson that is wickedly funny, surprisingly heart-wrenching and not to be missed. (Valerie Jean Johnson)”
The Louisville Review’s Fall issue devotes its entire drama section to works by Oobleck authors.
Included are Happy Happy Bunny Visits Sad Sad Owl by Danny Thompson; Ubu Papa by Jeffrey Dorchen; Havel/Bickle by David Isaacson; and Delivery by Mickle Maher.
The drama section is edited by Charlie Schulman.
It is available through The Louisville Review website
Theater Oobleck is engaged in our most ambitious project to date: Baudelaire in a Box, a cantastoria of the entire contents of “Les Fleurs du mal,” to be completed by 2017, the 150th anniversary of Baudelaire’s death.
The first installment was performed at the HideOut in April. The next installment will be performed January 26-30 in Puerto Rico, as part of The Festival Vititiri. And the third installment will be back here in Chicago and at the Banners and Cranks festival in New York City this summer
Here’s the skinny on this weekend: The Festival Vitititiri presents four different nights of puppets, circus, music, cantastoria and wine.
Wednesday January 26th at 8:00, at the Nuyorican Cafe in Old San Juan. Theater Oobleck, Clare Dolan, The Dolly Wagglers, Circo Nacional de Puerto Rico, Y No Había Luz, María de Azúa and Eden Cruz perform.
Friday and Saturday January 28 & 29th, the festival travels to south west coast in Guanica at La Bodega Andreu Solé with Theater Oobleck, Clare Dolan, The Dolly Wagglers, Circo Nacional de Puerto Rico and Y No Había Luz.
And Sunday afternoon at 5 they are back in San Juan at the Abracadabra Café in Santutrce with Theater Oobleck, Clare Dolan, The Dolly Wagglers and Eden Cruz.
Theater Oobleck will be performing three new cantastorias from the Baudelaire in a Box project. Chris Schoen will sing his adaptations in English and Eden Cruz will sing his in Spanish of The Giantess, The Sick Muse and Hymn to Beauty with scrolling artwork by Dave Buchen.
(And what is a cantastoria, you might ask? Cantastoria is the Italian word for a performance form originating in 6th Century India involving the display of representational paintings accompanied by sung narration. It traveled the world and has taken on many forms, from Indian religious Par scrolls to the Indonesian Wayang-Beber, to Persian Parda-dar entertainers, to itinerant European street performers selling broadsides, to the German banklesanger in Weimar cabarets to the present day revival.)
“When modern day financial instruments and credit default swaps begins to resemble the impulsive gambling schemes of an 18th-century libertine, why shouldn’t we turn to that sly, witty, and insouciant rogue–especially when, down on his luck in prison, he is being candid about all his vices, compulsions, hair-brained money-making misadventures and sexual entrapments. Isaacson has rediscovered the perfect figure to expose us to the implications and ramifications of real-life venture capitalism. Add a little sex, an aspect of human nature that is driven by many of the same delusions and impulses as gambling with other people’s money, and you have the 21st-century financial crisis, only saucier.”
Read the whole thing here.
The Newcity Review:
“Imagine if NPR—in particular, perhaps, the “Planet Money” show—were a theater company, and “Casanova Takes a Bath” might be something they would produce. In this one-person show, writer/performer David Isaacson takes a topic as dry as the recent American financial crisis, and overlays it with the lens of eighteenth-century libertine Giacomo Casanova, suddenly making the narrative of the financial crisis as saucy as a Harlequin romance…
“You have to marvel at the kind of mind that could see the parallels between two such seemingly disparate worlds. Yet, while you may not come away with any deeper understanding of economics, Isaacson’s insightful antics are nothing short of a revelation.” (Neal Ryan Shaw)
We love the lead of this review:
“If you’re in Chicago, and you’re looking for some brilliant comic juxtapositions, go see any show produced by the folks at Theater Oobleck; they are the Brilliant Comic Juxtapositions People.”
And the rest of it isn’t so bad either! (No, actually it’s good. Very good. You can read it here.
“In this amusing solo lecture-cum-farce, [David Isaacson] exposes the cupidity, stupidity, narcissism, and—most of all—magical thinking behind the crisis by showing how nicely it parallels the financial misadventures of a man who got in on the ground floor of laissez-faire capitalism: the legendary lover, Giacomo Casanova. . . . Charming and smart.” — Tony Adler, in the Chicago Reader
“If the financial shenanigans that led to our economic meltdown still make your eyes glaze over, David Isaacson’s new one-man show, “Casanova Takes a Bath,” should go a long way toward rectifying that.” — or so sayeth Nina Metz in the Chicago Tribune
Theater Oobleck, along with our pals the Neo-Futurists, are really excited to bring back, for ONE SHOW ONLY, one of our biggest hits ever: The Complete Lost Works Of Samuel Beckett As Found In An Envelope (partially burned) In A Dustbin In Paris Labeled “Never to be performed. Never. Ever. EVER! Or I’ll Sue! I’LL SUE FROM THE GRAVE!”
It is this Saturday, May 29, at the Steppenwolf Garage, 1624 N. Halsted Street, in Chicago, at 5pm.
Here’s a sampling of what the press has said: “Howlingly on target!” – New York Times. “I fell off my chair laughing” – The Guardian. “Hilariously liberating” – The London Times. “The performances are sharp, the wit sharper; it had audiences in screams and tears” – Village Voice
After eleven international runs including the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, London’s Riverside Theater, a three-month UK tour, a production touring Europe in German, and three sold-out runs in New York City, this Theater Oobleck/Neo-Futurist collaboration returns to Chicago for the first time since it premiered in the Rhino Festival in a decade ago.
Featuring Neo-Futurist Founder Greg Allen, Oobleck Founder Danny Thompson, and the amazing John Jughead Pierson as “the actor”, this is a one-shot opportunity to see this award-winning show before we tour again.
Tickets are $15. More if you’ve got it! FREE if you’re broke!
No reservations accepted. Just show up at the Steppenwolf Garage on Saturday (May 29th) before 5pm, give us a donation and you’re in!
We will be filming the show so bring your friends!
Courtesy the magical Danny Thompson.
Rebecca Palmore, of Metromix, talks with David Isaacson about Casanova, bubbles, and the sensual pleasures of global finance through the ages.
Casanova Takes a Bath is opening, and at every performance this weekend half the proceeds will go to the following worthy organizations.
Casanova is at its heart, a play about economic injustice. And so Friday’s performance will be a benefit for the American Friends Service Committee , which engages in peace and economic justice work.
Saturday is a benefit for The Crossroads Fund , a foundation that supports numerous local economic and social justice organizations.
And Sunday is a benefit for the Roger Park Montessori Financial Aid Fund.
We highly recommend that you make reservations for these events.
But that is not all we’ve got going on this weekend. In addition, we will be joining forces with the Neo-Futurists in presenting some of Danny Thompson and Greg Allen’s Lost Works of Samuel Beckett . This is being presented for free at Steppenwolf, in conjunction with their production of Endgame.
And that’s not all! Company member Diana Slickman, along with Oobleck vets David Kodeski and Rachel Claff, will perform with BoyGirlBoyGirl in The Flesh Market. On Friday night and Saturday nights, this will serve as a kind of double-feature (for you solo performance die-hards) with Casanova Takes a Bath. Come to the Prop Thtr for the Flesh Market, stay for the Bath.
May 5 – 9. The Oobleck Irregulars have another full-filled week of entertainment planned for you and yours.
Wednesday, May 5: Diana Slickman appears in The Encyclopedia Show, 7:30 at the Vittum Theatre.
Thursday – Sunday. Last weekend for Guy Massey in the Gift Theatre’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest .
Friday – Sunday: Last weekend for Cranks and Banners Festival at Links Hall, co-curated by Dave Buchen.
Thursday – Tuesday only: The world premiere of Mickle Maher’s family show Cape and Squiggle in a Redmoon production at the Chicago Humanities Festival.
In Milwaukee, Thursday – Sunday. Final weekend for Mickle’s Spirits to Enforce — which Oobleck premiered in 2003 — at the Youngblood Theatre . The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel says it is “the stuff that great theater is made of.”
And in San Francisco Thursday – Saturday (and running through May 22): The West Coast premiere of Mickle’s An Apology for the Course and Outcome of Certain Events Delivered by Doctor John Faustus on this his Final Evening (originally produced by Oobleck in 1999) at Performers Under Stress.
“It’s a notable month for Theater Oobleck. With the remount of the company’s recent Rhino Fest contribution, “Casanova Takes a Bath,” at Prop Thtr in late May, and their current ambitious cantastoria project in conjunction with Links Hall (along with recent performances at the Hideout and the Packer Schopf Gallery), the company’s various members are performing and collaborating all over town.”