First of all, the Chicago Tribune has a nice review of the piece here. It will be more detailed than mine because I am very sleepy right now. Just warning you.
The play was everything I had hoped it would be. And, as many of you who know me and/or have been to a play with me know, that is high praise.
One of Lookingglass Theater Company's mottos, it seems, is "theater without a net". They wove in lovely visual images, very simply done and often with intense, gymnastic choreographed blocking - Shahryar diving at the young women, holding a knife to their throats; a girl lifted up in the air, balanced on the upturned feet of a man laying on his back; royalty carried through the streets on the backs of slaves; a boat gliding along a cool river at night, created simply with a procession of people walking along small platforms as a servant moves the one the girl at the end has stepped off of to in front of the man who's leading the group and who has just put out his foot.
They created images, dances, music, poetry, and songs with great simplicity. It was funny, bawdy, touching, and very, very human. Above all, it was a celebration of storytelling, something I have been very interested in as of late, and something I want to study more.
I will definitely be going back to the Lookingglass Theater again, even if it's the only reason I go to Chicago.
P.S. Just for cryptic fun, here are the notes I frantically typed into my iPhone after the show to remember for future directing (steal from the best, right?):
- Disguises=hat backwards
- Sleepers in diagonal, same movement
- Little girl sits on feet
- Slaves carry women
- Silent Servant hold back desperate master
- Six men make waves (blue scarves?) with hands, seventh swims between (on shoulders?)
- Wind noises from chorus; lovers blown away, rolling
- Wrists - bones click, lantern going out
- Platforms in places for river