#17. “It all looks so good. I’ll have everything on the menu.” In my server days, this overused comment drove me crazy. I just wanted people to order quickly and efficiently A meal. It was not their last meal, it was just A meal. Only now in my non-servitude life am I able to grasp that overwhelming enthusiastic reaction. Sometimes, the offerings distract with their visual appeal, making it impossible to focus.
Chicago Shakespeare Theater, in association with Redmoon, presents the world premiere of THE FEAST: AN INTIMATE TEMPEST. Prospero is exiled to an island. He amuses himself by torturing his slaves, Ariel and Caliban. He is the puppetmaster. They are the puppets. He makes them put on a show. Prospero dangles freedom as the prize if his minions perform to his liking. They try to act to his specifications. And repeat it until they get it perfect. His ongoing dissatisfaction and persecution inspire Ariel and Caliban to deviate from the monotonous reiteration. Their rogue acts bring redemption to men and puppets. THE FEAST: AN INTIMATE TEMPEST is a bountiful bodacious buffet.
This show is eye candy! The puppetry is so fascinating that I couldn’t stop gaping at it. I kind of lost myself in the illusion of these face masks by designer Jesse Mooney-Bullock. They looked magnificently real! During the show, they are incorporated seamlessly into the story. I enjoy the wondrous variation in the moment. And I’m even more impressed of their inclusion after the show. The pageantry somewhat distracted me though from the story. I must confess that I had to read a quick synopsis of “The Tempest” to refresh my memory...post show!! It’s with this hindsight I admire Jessica Thebus’ adaption. Thebus, along with co-creator and co-director Frank Maugeri, cleverly weave in elements of the Shakes’ classic into this tight imaginative reinvention. Supporting characters to the special effects, John Judd, Samuel Taylor and Adrian Danzig are a dynamic trio. Judd is the master. He anchors the show with his poignant delivery. As the spirit, Taylor shows incredible versatility in inhabiting a bunch of different personas. The monster-type, Danzig freaked me out with his circus-like moves. At one point, he swooped from pier to wall. I thought I was seeing things.
Levers move. Planks flip. Puppets float. THE FEAST: AN INTIMATE TEMPEST is much more Redmoon spectacle than Chicago Shakes classic. It’s tempest in a teapot. And THIS teapot is unique and whimsical. THE FEAST is a dazzling infusion of creative cuisine. And I ate it up!
Always up for a Shakes offering, Jen describes it with ‘engaging, emotive props.’
Running Time: Seventy minutes with no intermission.
At Chicago Shakespeare Theater on Navy Pier, 800 E. Grand
Based on “The Tempest” by William Shakespeare
Co-created and co-directed by Jessica Thebus and Frank Maugeri
Adaptation by Jessica Thebus
Design by Frank Maugeri
Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays at 7:30pm
Saturdays and Sundays at 3pm
Thru March 11th
Buy Tickets at www.chicagoshakes.com