I spent the night with the President. It’s not what you think. It’s better! 2011 Chicago Fringe Festival presents THEODORE ROOSEVELT: THE MAN IN THE ARENA. In his one man show, Derek Evans honors the memory of the 26th president. Evans transforms… on stage… into President Theodore Roosevelt. Sure, he glues on a mustache, buttons up a vest, and perches a two lens monocle. The resemblance is history book perfect. But there’s more, he becomes the man who brought us, ‘speak softly and carry a big stick.’ He pumps out his chest, twinkles his eyes, and commands the stage with authority befitting a Commander-in-Chief. Evans is a transfixing storyteller. He mischievously recollects competing with his siblings to be in the crook of his father’s arm. He describes with such vivid detail that I’m convinced I’m hearing a personal account. Evans is a living, breathing autobiography. The perspective is an insider’s look. He creates the mental image of a frail child being galloped around a winter city by his father to expand his lungs. I see it clearly. These childhood moments defined the robust adult. Evans portrays the adventurer enthusiast charging through life. He is conspiratorially playful in chatting about ‘his’ life. This private audience with the President is riveting for his impressive legacy. With all that personality, President Theodore Roosevelt is immortalized on Mount Rushmore and in Derek Evans. You should try to see both!
The 2nd annual Chicago Fringe Festival is indeed on the fringe of Chicago public transportation. Locale-wise, it’s not so conveniently located in the Pilsen Neighborhood. The ten day festival celebrates the works of fifty performers. There are multiple shows every day. Unfortunately, I could only manage one show into my schedule primarily because I don’t have a car. Next year, I hope the Fringe moves closer to the fold. It would be ideal in a theatre cluster neighborhood, like Lakeview, Lincoln Park, or Rogers Park, where there are a plethora of CTA options.
Making plans to read the TR biography, Tom describes it as ‘what a badass!’
Running Time: One hour with no intermission
At Temple Gallery, 1749 S. Halsted
Written and performed by Derek Evans
Thursday, September 8th at 8:30pm
Saturday, September 10th at 5:30pm
Sunday, September 11th at 4pm