Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Joseph Riley

foray into what a blog could be?

celebrating significant years of Joseph Riley, designer at the Prop Thtr!

above right, the model months before, what the above left link leads to -

Developing one of two 'duets' in our theater, this "No Roosters In The Desert",
from which these images are,
along with designing "Easy Six" for the Factory Theatre on our other stage.  

Joseph has over the last years done this before, he has thrice thrust a second story upon the back theater, and thrust many more story's onto the stage together, beginning I think,  together with Shannon Evans,  on "Lovesauce" by RJ Tsarov, an amazing whirling claustrophobic space, I thought, then I remember the large painted strong choices on cardboard with frills and magic he would build for the kids of the summer camp, easily movable and flowing. He built a 2 story amazing house with roof and windows and porch and life busting out of every pore, for "1512 W. Studebaker" with Liz Ladach Bark, a house in foreclosure I will never forget.  Then, just recently, built a forest with stump holes and secrets and mossy trees and hillside and a cottage to boot, a fairy tale world.

With me, Joseph has helped on everything I have worked on in one way or another over the last couple of years, decisively and hugely in "The Darkest Pit" by Kristiana Colón for which a tight classroom spanned out over the audience with its fear.

In every iteration of our long series of projects with Jenny Magnus, from stages to museums, festivals and onhe has stood by.  For Scott Vehill's "The Informer" and for The Buzz that is Beau O'Reilly, at Trap Door and over at The Artistic Home and then, recently and hugely, for me, "Debris of The Prophet" by Paul Carr, where he helped us realize our generations fond nightmare, to have the world turn into a cartoon, building two versions of the same set

- no Joseph does not shrink from long hours, from complication, from theatrical impatience; Joseph churns that back as productive conceptual meetings full of bursts and chuckles, patient stubborn questions about what are the intentions, a wildly optimistic but very exact eye for what is proportionately possible, then the immense decency to actually carry that through to the ambitious compromise which every opening night is.  I have watched Joseph with friends, I have watched Joseph love, I have, above all, watched Joseph work.  He has very often been, over the last years, the nicest thing happening at Prop Thtr and I shall greatly miss his intense presence while I shall also be beckoning with him, future new links and cooperations - perhaps in other ways.  Prop Thtr particularly salutes  Joseph Riley.
(added April 23rd:  the set painted:

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Arizona: No Roosters In the Desert

The highlight of our 30th season, by Kara Hartzler (based upon interviews compiled by Anna Ochoa O'Leary):

In this riveting new American play, four women trek the desert toward the American dream. On their way they push the limits of their physical and emotional endurance, and they establish profound yet fragile connections with each other through the magical storytelling of the youngest of them, an indigenous woman from Chiapas.

we were part of pushing through this controversial first time, the National New Play Network lent its support to a play that, itself, has crossed borders!  A rolling world premier from El Circulo Teatro in Mexico City through Borderlands Theater in Tuscon, Arizona to Chicago - here produced locally with a stellar cast directed by Tanya Saracho (whose wonderful new play, "El Nogalar" is featured at the Goodman's Owen Theater in a Teatro Vista production)- where it will open April 28th (with special previews April 23rd - April 25th at 8pm!) and run through Cinco de Mayo till May 29th!

 A small excerpt from dramaturg Jessica Kadish's work:


Cross-referencing a bunch of sources, it's clear that the desert journey takes about 3-4 days through the path that we're looking at. This path seems to be a pretty historically specific one - developed by the Southwest Border Strategy implemented in the early-mid '90s. According to O'Leary's research (which inspired Hartzler's writing), it started in 1993 with Operation Hold The Line (Texas), and continued with Operation Gatekeeper (California in 1994) and Operation Safeguard (Arizona in 1995). This plan has caused major crackdowns on all major border-crossing centers, which is what forces people into the more remote desert areas to make the crossing.

-happened last in the sequence because with the success on crackdowns in El Paso and San Diego, migration traffic shifted to Nogales/Tucson. Operation Safeguard was implemented to address that traffic shift.
-new fence built near Nogales
-more border agents assigned to the Tucson region
-government report released 1995 calls it "Biggest Increase Ever" in sending agents to the AZ border (http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/Pre_96/January95/7.txt.html)

It's more dangerous now to cross the border than it used to be - about 200 bodies are found each year (npr.org) regardless of policy shifts. And even though the number of successful crossings is down, this 200-figure is staying the same - which means that a higher percentage of people aren't surviving the journey. Different numbers of deaths come from different sources, though. La Jornada de Michoacán writes that 2 people die every day...which would mean over 700 deaths per year...perhaps this number includes more than just bodies that are found in the desert. (http://www.lajornadamichoacan.com.mx/2010/10/01/index.php?section=municipios&article=013n3mun)


In June Prop Thtr will host two very special events which highlight our special devotion to expanding the offer of performance beyond our new play specialty:  The first weekend of June,

The Carnival Of Curiosity & Chaos 

produced by Prop Thtr favorite: Artist Tom Hill

"A Tantalizing Spectacle Featuring Acts By: Tom Hill, Jeffrey Pressley, Ammu Nition, Jen Dollface, & Danielle Forrest. They Are Prodigies of Physical Phenomena and Great Presentation of Marvelous Living Human Curiosities.

This 2 Hour Freak Show Demonstrates Acts of: Underwater Escape, Block Head, Trapeze, Burlesque, Fetish Play, Bed of Nails, Sword Play, Poi, Piercings & Brandings, Glass Walking, Belly Dancing, Aerial Chain, Suspended Straightjacket Escape, The Iron Stomach, Sword Swallowing, Hot Coal Walking, Contortionism, Handcuff & Chain Escapes, Adagio, Human Pin Cushion, Tattooed Men & Women, Snake Charmer, and Much More…

The Freaks Display Their Acts For Peoples’ Unquenchable Curiosity For The Outlandish And The Unknown. 



The second weekend of June, we are privileged to welcome our mates of yesteryear's Chicago "Practical Theatre"  Victoria Zielinski and Paul Barrosse with their hit L.A. Cabaret show, "The Vic and Paul Show" :

After a 22-year absence from the Chicago stage, Paul Barrosse and Victoria Zielinski, veterans of The Practical Theatre Company, are bringing “The Vic & Paul Show”, their original two-person comedy revue, to The Prop Theatre from June 9-12.

After raising three kids “from diapers to diplomas,” Vic & Paul are back to doing what they were doing before they got married: performing sophisticated comedy sketches and musical numbers in an intimate theatrical setting.

“The Vic & Paul Show” is “An Evening of Comedy, Music, Marriage & Martinis.” It’s somewhere between Nick & Nora and Nichols & May (if those famous couples were over-50 parents with grown-up kids).

Vic & Paul will be joined at The Prop by their musical director, Chicago area Emmy-winner Steve Rashid. Chicago native Shelly Goldstein directed the show.

There will be one preview performance on Thursday, June 9th at 8:00 pm. (Tickets $10.)

Shows are Friday June 10th at 8:00 pm ($20), Saturday June 11th at 8:00 pm ($20), Sunday, June 12th at 2:00 pm ($15) and at 7:00 pm ($20).

For Reservations go to: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/169351


Join young bands doing good and playing well and artists raffling original art this Sunday APRIL !0th in a benfit for Japan:  http://on.fb.me/hUkkFK

And, LollaPallazollo! in July, the largest gathering ever of Chicago's Tom Pallazollo's films in one place.  More about that, about Brecht's "Drums In the Night", about Burrough's  "The Last Words Of Dutch Schultz" and lots, yeah lots, more.

Please Visit Prop Thtr this 30th Season and be part of the shows, always live, always really here, always a fresh breath of non-digital entertainment!