2010′s Wondrous Ten

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It is that time of year again when I’m making lists – from things I’m going to give up in the new year (eating pork belly being one of them) to places I’m going to visit in 2011 (return trips to Hong Kong and Vancouver and a first trip to Rio de Janeiro on top of that list) to the various ways I can meet hot chefs in the city (oops, ok, that’s a secret list).  I’ve also compiled my annual ten best theatrical experiences for 2010, a list, as always, compiled from the point of view of a passionate audience member.  It was another strong year in Chicago theater, and I saw plays everywhere in the city, from the major houses like the Goodman and Steppenwolf, to most of the storefronts, to the basement of an apartment building in Uptown where folding seats were set up in front of washers and dryers.  Fantastic!

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Highlights-Lowlights

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In between scrambling around catching films at the Chicago International Film Festival, I’ve also tried to keep up with the very busy openings of the fall theater season.  So on one weekend I attended Silk Road Theatre Project’s riveting, stimulating, immensely satisfying Chicago premiere of Lebanese-Canadian playwright Wajdi Mouawad’s Scorched, clearly one of the best productions I’ve seen this year.  And then last weekend, I trekked out to the hinterlands of Rogers Park to catch Ludicrous Theatre Company ’s take on Peter Shaffer’s outdated clunker Equus, now re-set in 2010 instead of the early 1970s, and taking place in a farm community outside Reno, Nevada instead of rural England.  I know I should have learned my lesson after seeing Redtwist’s version barely two months ago, but I believe in second chances and in Chicago theaters’ passion, daring, and can-do fervor.  Unfortunately, this version of Equus, stuffed to the gills with questionable artistic decisions which can’t be redeemed by Ian McCabe’s impressive performance as Alan Strang, is one of the least notable, least recommendation-worthy shows I’ve seen in Chicago in a long time.  That’s the life of the passionate Chicago theatergoer – because of the wide-ranging options offered by our 150+ theater companies, you take the highlights with the lowlights, the pearls with the sandy grit.

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