Saturday, April 30, 2011

Mini-Review of The Trials of Busta Keaton by Chicago Dance Crash with special guests Culture Shock Chicago

[I am writing this today, and I will tell you why it is so short. Because I just saw the dance show last night, and it is going to close very soon. So then people can come and see it.]

Once upon a time I went to a dance show, and it was called Busta Keaton. It was about Buster Keaton, and it was really fun. Buster Keaton is a famous black-and-white silent movie actor. He was very funny. Busta Keaton was like Buster Keaton only a rap dancer. Both were like clumsy funny and stunt-sy. Stunt-sy means very good at stunts. There were lots of cool dances. There were people in black and white. And there were some people that were in colorful costumes. The colorful costumes were for the teenagers. They were like new movies, ones that are newer to us than black and white. There was sad-moody, rock, and hip-hop songs. The ads were really funny because they were from a long time ago. And some of them were really hilarious because there were these kids saying, "You should try this product or something terrible will happen." Or something like that. That was good because it made it more old fashioned.

There was this glow-in-the-dark scene. It was really fun. They were wearing white outfits, and you could only see the outfits. My socks started glowing in the dark because they were white! And there were these floating shapes and people who kicked people in the head. You saw all these people doing different moves, and the music sounded like a robot.

There was this really funny scene where this girl fell in love with Busta Keaton. She was like "Oh, you have a pie?" And she really wanted some. She chased Busta Keaton all around the room. Then he set it down and said, "go ahead and have some." Then her face fell in it. Then she looked up and she looked very angry. Then they danced everywhere. They still like each other even though the pie got in her face.

There was this scene and these three men and like this big carton. Everyone wanted to get on the carton, and to get it they must do the greatest tricks. They were like jumping off it in different ways and trying to impress each other. And then they all got to sit on it. That meant that they didn't really like each other at first, but now they do.

It was cool because all the dances were all different. It was all different kinds of stories that were part of the same play. I never ever got bored. The dances were really fun, exciting, and awesome. People that like dancing, Buster Keaton, and black and white would like this dance show. People should go see it. They should go see it today or tomorrow because they are having their last show tomorrow.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Review of The Conquest of the South Pole at Strawdog Theatre Company

Once upon a time I went to a show and it was called Conquest of the South Pole. I saw it at Strawdog. It was cool. Get it? Cool!

It was directed by Kimberly Senior. It wasn't as funny as Cherry Orchard--she also directed that play. This one was more dramatic. She chose a play with guns, miners who don't have jobs, grown-up talk, words that some children would rather not hear (but not me, I am okay with this kind of talk), and no speech to a bookcase. It was less for kids. It was a good play still.

It is about a fake conquest of the South Pole--as you can see in the title, except for the fake part. It is not actually at the South Pole. They are in an attic. When I am angry, sometimes I just go into my room and play. I know some of you might think that is silly--but that is what makes little kids feel better. The miners think if they play conquest of the South Pole then that will make them feel better. It does not make them feel better at all--it makes them sadder because they still don't have any jobs and they don't have any money. Somebody doesn't want to play it and then they fight over the game and then they all quit except for two people who still play. Then a woman (played by Jenny Avery) has a baby and the play ends.

Anderson Lawfer played the meanest husband in the world. He did go to the actual South Pole, but he didn't play the game. He was so mean. I don't even know his name because I was so focused on how mean he was. His name was Rudi. Whew. He was rude. He gets into a fight because he treats his wife badly. He was bragging about going to the South Pole, and that makes them angry because they are just pretending. The fight was really very very creepy. I didn't even watch all of it because it was sooo creepy. It looks like Rudi bled very very very very bad. Very bad. It kind of made me a little grossed out because I know Andy in real life.

Rosi was played by Justine C. Turner. Rosi is Rudi's girlfriend. I felt sorry for her. Rosi was very cool. She smoked. Everybody saw her smoking. When she comes to the stage, then she says, "They call me Rosi," then she smokes the cigarette and she says "The Divorcee." If you don't know what divorcee means you can learn it from me--ADA GREY! (and my mom). It means a divorced female person. I just learned it a few seconds ago--but if you read this in the future, like a hundred years later, then it will not be a few seconds ago. It will be a hundred years ago. Justine did a good job being funny. When she said "divorcee" that was hilarious, and I didn't even know what divorcee meant, but I laughed anyway.

Jamie Vann played Slupianek. Slupianek is such a hilarious name. Slupianek makes me think of a funny person. And he was pretty funny. There was a song called, "Why can't a Moose ride a bike. Err Errk. Because he doesn't have the thumb to ring the bell." It was the main song in the whole entire thing. It was really hilarious and they sang it a lot. Slupianek was the person who sent Braukmann to cooking class. It was funny how he presented it. Slupianek was the leader to the South Pole. But he wasn't always the leader because some people had their very own ideas, which he disapproved of. But then he did them anyway. He is in love with Braukmann's Wife. And there is this part where he like lets her back in the chair and puts her forward again and then he says "Scene 6." I think they were starting to fall in love with each other. I have a theory about the last scene of the play. He was waiting in the hospital and decided to go to the South Pole when he was waiting for Braukmann's Wife to have the baby. I think she is going to have the baby, and then the baby is going to want to go the South Pole with his daddy. And he is going to be in a tiny little baby coat, with a tiny little ski mask, and then a little teddy bear with a coat that says "New Baby" on it and a tiny little bear ski mask.

Braukmann's Wife was played by Jenny Avery. There is some shooting in the play that she does. You think she is going to shoot Slupianek, but then she shoots his pigeons instead--which you don't really care about as much as Slupianek. I didn't actually think she did the right decision, because Slupianek was actually in love with her and then she would be like "I'm going back with Braukmann again." Then he might feel sad because he was so looking forward to marrying her because he had no wife. She shouldn't have broke up with Braukmann and just get together with him again because that made Slupianek and Braukmann both very sad. You still like the character though because she has a very simple but hard life.

Tom Hickey played Braukmann. He was really hilarious because he was like "What? I'm going to cooking class?" He always cooked up a meal. Maybe Slupianek wanted him to be like his wife. French fries in Antarctica--in the South Pole? Can you imagine something more hilarious? No. Braukmann was kind of one of the helpers that helped with the things Slupianek couldn't do--like cook. Braukmann was reading a book, and he had a dream: he was giving a speech on a chair at night. And then his wife woke up and told him to go back to bed. She was kind of a little bit tired, I could see.

Michael Dailey played Seiffert. His nickname was Moose and there was a curtain. And Buscher said "What is behind this curtain that wasn't there yesterday?" And they kept saying "curtain that wasn't there yesterday" instead of just "the curtain" because that made it funnier. Moose was behind it, and Moose was about to hang himself because he doesn't have a job. Then he can't get money. They forced him to eat french fries. The dreaded french fries! Moose had no wife or I would have told you about her already. Nobody had a wife except for Braukmann and Slupianek and that was the same wife! Rosi isn't Rudi's wife anymore because he treated her so terribly.

John Ferrick played Bushcher. He wanted to play characters that failed to go to the South Pole because he wanted to be failures because he thought he was a failure because he didn't have a job. But then everybody said we don't want to be failures because we aren't failures. He does not all fit with Slupianek, meaning he is not the same personality. They want much different things. They actually didn't go to the South Pole, so then they wouldn't be lying if they pretended that they had failed to go the South Pole.

Joel Ewing played the dog. There was this funny part where he was in this pose all ready to do the next scene. Everybody else was frozen solid about to smoke a cigar. And then the dog kept tapping them and they wouldn't move, so the dog just went off stage. He was funny and very good at pretending to pull sleds.

If parents do not like kids seeing people drinking and smoking and fighting this would not be a play for them. And if the children do not like seeing people fighting over a girl or breaking up or bras, then they should not see this play. I liked it a lot anyway because it is okay with me to see that kind of stuff. People that like things that are cold, dramatic stuff, babies, and funny stuff like "bottomless--as usual!" would like this play. I recommend that people should go see this play because it is a good play and lots of people would like it. Some parts are fun; some parts are depressing. Having depressing parts makes the play make more sense. If it is happy for the whole time, it is not that much fun to see. There have to be some depressing things to make it a good play. For example, in Orlando he/she is in love with Sasha but then Sasha runs away from him/she. And that is a good play. And Conquest of the South Pole is a good play too.

Photos: Chris Ocken

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Review of Sinbad, The Untold Tale at Adventure Stage

Once upon a time, I went to a show and it was called (whisper) Sinbad, The Untold Tale. And it was a cool play. It was about a genie and a porter and a beautiful lady that fell in love with the porter--kind of. That porter was actually the main character. That was cool because a porter is not usually a main character. I thought he would just bring the box to Sinbad the Sailor, and then you would never see the porter again. It was very adventurous. Bum bum bum! If you don't know what adventurous means, you can learn it from me--ADA GREY! It means like falling down a waterfall with nobody catching you. Adventurous means like maybe you would survive. It means dangerous but fun.

There were two Sinbads. One of them was Sinbad the Sailor, and the other was Sinbad the Porter. One of them was really rich, and one of them was really poor. One of them was really older than the other. Adam El-Sharkawi played Sinbad the Sailor. He did a good job pretending that he was older than he actually was. The character really wanted to get people's attention to the story. He made it really exciting by telling us about his own adventures--like there was this one where he fought a kind of creature that was terrible. Edgar Miguel Sanchez played Sinbad the Porter. And I saw him in Wilson Wants It All, and he did a great job in that. He did a great job in this too! You were supposed to feel sorry for him because he's very poor and is bossed around a lot and gets threatened a lot. He was really hilarious. There was this funny part where Ittifaq said "What else can't you do?" Response from Sinbad the Porter: "I cannot think of a reason to like you!" That is a really hilarious answer because that is exactly what she did not want to hear. Edgar was awesome.

Mike Ooi was the Silent Genie. I thought that was a great character because he was another bad guy that helped the sorceress; he was really funny. And here is a part where he was funny: Sinbad the Porter was arguing with Ittifaq, and then the Silent Genie is smiling, and Sinbad the Porter says "Stop Smiling," and then the Silent Genie just starts smiling again. I thought that was hilarious. He was sometimes kind of scary but funny at the same time.

Abu Nuwas was a good genie. He was played by Esteban Andres Cruz. In the genies' fight he did not just go up to the Silent Genie and defeat him. He had to go through a lot of damage. He like jumped and shooted things out of his hands. He moved dramatically like he was about to do something cool and dramatic. Here is how you do a genie fight. You pick an opponent. You make a movement. And then you jump when they shoot at you. And then you have to go back. If you miss the shot that means you are losing. If you get him every single time, and he only got you once, then you would be winning.

Mildred Marie Langford, she played the Sorceress Jan Shah. I thought she was a good actor because every time she tried to make up scary things to do--like scary kinds of laughs. She said you can die or be with me. And the "be with me" part is better than dying, but the girl Ittifaq chose dying because I don't think she wanted to live with her because she was bad. There was this really creepy part where the sorceress dissolved into ashes. If you were a super villain and came to the play (and it would be very easy, because you could just break through a window) then you would feel very sad for the sorceress because she died. And superheroes would feel great that the bad guy died.

Ittifaq was played by Dana Dajani. Ittifaq was the daughter of Sinbad the Sailor. She was kind of mean at the beginning, but then she turned nice because then she actually liked the porter. She like really wanted to fight because she really wanted to have an adventure. Her father needed her and thought she was too young, so she could not go on any adventures. Then she dresses up like a pirate and goes on the ship. She couldn't go on any adventures until her father was sick, and I felt very sad for her. There was this part where she gets captured by this snake that comes in when she tries to get the flower, which is the only way to save her father. That scene was a good scene because it was creepy--the snake came up to her and it was just so sudden. At the end, all the people in the audience got to ask questions. And one of them was "was it hard not to laugh at the funny parts?" And Dana said, "Yes it was very hard not to laugh when the snake laughs." I did not think it was funny; I thought it was creepy. She looked terrified when the snake comes out. I think that is good for the actor and the play.

The magic carpet was cool. They like put their feet in it and they walked around so it looked like they were actually flying. The carpet flies when Ittifaq tells Sinbad the Porter the instructions. She says only love will make the carpet fly. And then he instantly fell in love with her.

They had people dressed in black to help them change clothes and take off pieces of the set that weren't supposed to be there. They lifted the genies up to dodge things in the scene where there was a genie fight. That was a kabuki style thing. I recognized it because I saw another thing that was kabuki, and I saw people in black behind them. I think it was a good idea because it taught the kids that were there what kabuki was. I think it was a great idea because then when people go to Japan they will know what they are seeing when they go to a theatre in Japan.

I think people that like stories that have snakes trying to hurt people and genies and sorceresses would like this play. The audience was not very rowdy because people were really paying attention to the play. 5 to 10 year olds would like this play. I recommend that kids go see it because the actors are funny and the fights are cool.

Photos by: Johnny Knight