Showing posts with label David Adjmi. Show all posts
Showing posts with label David Adjmi. Show all posts

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

REVIEW: Three's Company, 3C's Chaos at A Red Orchid Theatre

A Red Orchid's latest, 70's era jiggle show lampoon, Apartment 3C, is cringeworthy in the best way. Every character is fatally flawed, empty inside, and utterly recognizable. As we left the theatre, one patron practically ran over us, and couldn't exit fast enough. We overheard him mutter "Candidate for the worst play of the year." In my book, if a cast can evoke such a strong, visceral reaction, even a negative one, they're doing something right. If you're not disturbed by this production, you're not paying attention. 

All production photos by Michael Brosilow

3C brings to stage the familiar archetypes of the blonde bimbo, androgynous girl, and gay Vietnam vet, with fabulously funny, over the top caricatures, with dark undercurrents of alcoholism, sex addiction, closeted homosexuality, poverty, and more. The lecherous landlord and his flakey wife are also exaggerated and taken to the next disturbing level of actual molester, hitting on his young female and male tenants alike, and suicidal stress ball, too neurotic to stay on her meds, and depressed by her abusive train wreck of a marriage.

Jennifer Engstrom, Christina Gorman

The jokes are truly tasteless and offensive, as is the in your face abuse. And that's really the point. As a society, we've become immune to mild mannered sexism and gay bashing comedy, merrily laughing along, while these portrayals in real life and on popular shows seep into our collective unconscious causing bias among even the best intentioned. Come meet the shopping and sex addicted preacher's kid with an abusive past who just wants to feel beautiful and ends up more alone and unhappy than ever, the androgynous alcoholic who may be in love with her female roommate, the closeted gay boy forced to pretend to be a straight boy pretending to be a gay boy, the shallow swinger friend he's in love with, and the landlords from hell.

Steve Haggard, Lawrence Grimm

Sometimes it takes an over the top, black comedy to wake us up to how absurd and awful it truly is to stereotype others and treat them with an utter lack of respect, and how psychologically damaging it can be to hide your true self and not seek help for crippling issues. We live in a sick society when LGBT sexual identity, naïveté, mental illness, physical traits beyond our control, abusive marriages and addictions become the butt of jokes for our consumption. And not much has changed in four plus decades.

Sigrid Sutter, Nick Mikula

Sutter, Gorman, Engstrom, Mikula, Grimm (standing)

This show is well worth seeing, with high energy performances by the entire cast and creative directing choices by the infamous Shade Murray. Just don't let the disco dancing, psychedelic kaftan, and polyester suits lull you into expecting a lighthearted retro comedy. The first half was laugh out loud funny, with loads of innuendo and bumbling physical comedy, but it turns black fast. This show takes a while to process and it was still consuming my thoughts a day later. I was left musing whether the show would come across as even darker and more disturbing with a ubiquitous 70's sitcom laugh track. Come check out the California dystopian flashback that is 3C for yourself. Recommended. 

APRIL 20 – JUNE 4, 2017

Inspired by 70’s sitcoms and the political incorrectness of "jiggle television," 3C is a hilarious and horrifying look at identity and what lies beneath the homogeneous perky veneer. Brad lands in L.A. to start a new life. A wild night of partying finds him passed out in Connie and Linda’s kitchen and the three strike a deal that raises the suspicions of the landlords. Complications spiral out of control, taking the show from farce to something... unexpected. 

Red Night Opening: Friday, April 28, 2017 at 8 p.m.

Regular Run: April 29 – June 4, 2017

Schedule:  Thursdays: 8:00 p.m.
 Fridays: 8:00 p.m.
 Saturdays: 8:00 p.m.  
                 Sundays: 3:00 p.m. (except April 23).

Location:A Red Orchid Theatre, 1531 N. Wells Ave.

Tickets: $30-$35 ($30 Thurs, $35 Fri, Sat, Sun)

Box Office: Located at 1531 N. Wells Ave, Chicago, (312) 943-8722; or online 

The cast of 3C includes Ensemble Members Jennifer Engstrom (Mrs. Wicker), Lawrence Grimm (Mr. Wicker) and Steve Haggard (Terry), with Christina Gorman (Linda), Nick Mikula (Brad) and Sigrid Sutter (Connie). 
The creative team includes Sarah Fabian (Set Designer), Myron Elliott (Costume Designer), Rachel Levy (Lighting Designer), Brando Triantafillou (Sound Designer), Lydia Hanchett (Props Designer) and Jon Martinez (Choreography). The Production Stage Manager is Christa van Baale. 

About A Red Orchid
A Red Orchid Theatre has served as an artistic focal point in the heart of the Old Town community of Chicago since 1993 and was honored this year with a 2016 MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions. Over the past 23 years, its Resident Ensemble has welcomed into its fold an impressive array of award winning actors, playwrights and theatre artists with the firm belief that live theatre is the greatest sustenance for the human spirit. A Red Orchid is well known and highly acclaimed for its fearless approach to performance and design in the service of unflinchingly intimate stories. In addition to its professional season, the company also produces an annual OrKids (youth) project and hosts The Incubator (providing artists with space and time to explore new work, new forms and new artistic collaborations). 

A Red Orchid Theatre is: Lance Baker, Kamal Angelo Bolden, Dado, Mike Durst, Jennifer Engstrom, Kirsten Fitzgerald, Joseph Fosco, Steve Haggard, Mierka Girten, Larry Grimm, Karen Kawa, Karen Kessler, Danny McCarthy, Shade Murray, Brett Neveu, Michael Shannon, Guy Van Swearingen, Doug Vickers and Natalie West.

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