"Camino Real" (Goodman Theatre): Mind F#ck!

"Camino Real" (Goodman Theatre):  Mind F#ck!

“What is it like being a writer?  It’s like being free.  To be free is to achieve your life.”  -Camino Real

#60.  Goodman Theatre presents CAMINO REAL.  “Camino Real” is Spanish for the ‘royal road’ or the ‘King’s Highway.’  A plethora of characters - Lord Byron, Casanova, Hunchback’s Esmeralda, Marguerite Gautier - are trapped at the end of the road.  They are stuck in limbo.  They’re looking for a way out... sex, booze, love, death.  Coexisting with random other people is bringing out the crazy in everyone.  They are caged in and tortured by their own thoughts and the delusions of others.  The ultimate exit is just a dumpster away.  Is survival worth living?  CAMINO REAL is one big mind f#ck!

For Playwright Tennessee Williams, CAMINO REAL is "nothing more nor less than my conception of the time and the world I live in.”  He must be enjoying the Goodman’s interpretation of his work from his own Camino Real.  Director Calixto Bieito and co-creator Marc Rosich make this production a hot mess.  The pacing and vision is an imaginative tightly woven ensemble.  The design team (Rebecca Ringst-set, Ana Kuzmanic -costumes, James F. Ingalls -lighting, Richard Woodbury - sound) works overtime to make the gaudy visual and audio spectacle.   A collection of suspended neon signs, a helicopter overhead with a suspension ladder, papers flying everywhere framed by a cellblock cage wall.  Its bizarre and disturbing. It’s like the design team shared their individual weirdest dreams and then re-created them as a combo onstage.

The huge cast is mega talented.  If they are having this much fun on stage, the cast party is going to be legendary.  They zestfully bicker, screw, and pontificate. The focus continually shifts seamlessly from one freaky misfit to another. The entire ensemble is quirky to the max but I did have my favorites.  The titillating Barbara Robertson is a perfect slut.  At one point, she climbs the stage wall with the agility of an eight year old.  Wow, Babs!  David Darlow (Casanova) charmingly zings his lines hilariously.  A sassy Carolyn Ann Hoerdemann animatedly mocks the frivolity.  And Antwayn Hopper (Kilroy)  powerfully breaks the superficiality in his poignant soliloquy.

Audiences reactions to CAMINO REAL are extreme.  People are walking out nightly.  It's bawdy! There is sex, rape, orgies, crotch sniffing.  It’s vaudeville meets performing arts.  Some things mean nothing.  Some things mean everything.  It’s definitely a trip!  As Lord Byron says, “Make voyages, there is nothing else.”   I encourage you to journey down to the Goodman and see what all the noise is about.

Running Time:  One hour and fifty minutes with no intermission

At Goodman Theatre, 170 N. Dearborn

Written by Tennessee Williams

In a new version by Calixto Bieito and Marc Rosich

Directed by Calixto Bieito

Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Sundays at 7:30pm

Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm

Thursdays, Saturdays, Sundays at 2pm

Thru April 8th

Buy Tickets at www.goodmantheatre.org

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