Lifeline Theatre presents the 16th Annual Fillet of Solo Festival, January 3rd through 20th. Chicago’s yearly salute to storytellers was conceived by Live Bait Theatre in 1995. Since 2010, the festival continues to showcase solo performers with Lifeline Theatre serving as the producer. Fillet of Solo is offering shows at two locations in Rogers Park, Lifeline Theatre, 6912 N. Glenwood and Heartland Studio Theatre, 7016 N. Glenwood. Each show is one hour in duration and gives a fine sampling of Chicago’s talented soloists.
At Sunday’s matinee, I was able to catch the Sweat Girls’ “Year of the Sweater.” This is my second year in-a-row experiencing these feisty ladies: Pamela Webster, Caroline Andreas, Dorothy Milne, Martie Sanders and Clare Nolan. Their Fillet of Solo is a flavorful fish feast. Five solo yarns are loosely knitted together. The women share common experiences as a mom, wife, middle-aged student, struggling actor and wannabe magical person. The audience connects with the husband dying of a cold, the daughter begging to be a cheerleader, and the sister jealous of her kin’s mystical talents.
For me, seeing the Sweat Girls at Fillet of Solo is like an annual holiday get-together. It’s entertaining to hear what the gals have been up to for the year. In particular, Pamela Webster’s description of being an overzealous student of phlebotomy is not only hilarious, I'm proud of her for going back to school. Martie Sanders pulls me right into her dilemma of being sick during an audition at Chicago Shakes. Sanders is so engaging going back and forth from a German accent to American hacking, I want to check in with her later about the part and her health. And Dorothy Milne is in a word, magical! Milne is the kind of storyteller that transfixes children and adults. Her eyes twinkle and her tone is almost conspiratorial. She all but begs us to pull a stool closer as she spills the Mason beans. "The Year of the Sweater" is a warm-hearted, zany-striped, homespun pullover. Try it on!
Sweat Girls are being filleted for four more performances. I highly recommend getting out to see them or anything on the menu at Fillet of Solo.
At Lifeline Theatre, 6912 N. Glenwood
At Heartland Studio Theatre, 7016 N. Glenwood
January 10th, 11th, 12th, 17th, 18th, 19th at 7pm and 8:30pm
January 13th and 20th at 4pm and 6pm