Tuesday, February 2, 2016

September 2015: Chicago

East of Eden at Steppenwolf

My first introduction to Steppenwolf was through the PBS broadcast of their outstanding production of John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath that moved to Broadway in 1990. While adapter and director Frank Galati hasn't struck gold a second time with Steinbeck, this 3-hour play is still a worthy effort. Brilliant acting, direction, and design though can't make up for the fact that there's little that is redeeming in these characters or story. Still, it's fun to spend time with the mother and son bad apples so vividly brought to life in the movie by Jo Van Fleet and James Dean, respectively. While the movie focused on the second half of the story, this version presents the full epic. Despite it's long running time, the story never dragged, though I can't see sitting through this a second time.


Cirque du Soleil's Kurios

Cirque du Soleil's tent shows continue to amaze. While most of the acts appear to be recycled, there are enough new twists to impress even longtime fans. My favorite was a chair balancing act that was mirrored by performers and chairs hanging from the ceiling. Incredible on so many levels! While the shows seem to get shorter and shorter (but the intermissions longer and longer), I still love to spend an evening with the best circus around.


Nature Connects at the Morton Arboretum

Botanical gardens' efforts to incorporate art into natural settings range in quality. Most impressive have been Dale Chihuly's glass exhibits, which thankfully have been seen all over the world. While each individual piece may not be large, groupings can attain the "weight" needed to transform the environment of the display. The same cannot be said of the Lego statues by Sean Kennedy on temporary display at the Morton Arboretum. Other then subject matter, the small pieces do little to add to their surroundings. It was still fun to make a game of the exhibit though, guessing the number of Legos used in each piece and searching the grounds to find all of the works on display.

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