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items tagged with Jennifer E. Popple

Switching Gears: "Machinal," at Augustana College through October 25
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Theatre

Category: Reviews

2015-10-19 12:00:00

Debo Balogun and Christine Broughton in MachinalAt this time of the year, many people enjoy celebrating Halloween by being creeped out of their minds. Some enjoy cheesy slasher movies while others like to binge on The Walking Dead, and some religiously attend local spook houses such as Rock Island's Skellington Manor. Yet the most haunting, and even the creepiest, experience I have had in a long time happened at Augustana College's latest theatrical exploration of social justice: Machinal.
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Deaf Poetry Jam: "Tribes," at the QC Theatre Workshop through June 28
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Theatre

Category: Reviews

2015-06-15 12:00:00

Michael Carron, Calvin Co, and Adam Cerny in TribesThe QC Theatre Workshop’s Tribes didn’t start off well for me on Friday, as I immediately hated Adam Cerny’s overacting, with eye rolls so huge I was sure anyone in the lobby could see them through the curtain that separates it from the performance space. So I prepared myself for two hours of such overly dramatic physicality, after first cursing director Jennifer Popple for casting Cerny as a son in playwright Nina Raine’s troubled-family saga.

It didn’t take long, however, for Cerny to completely change my mind, as it became clear that his Daniel is, himself, over-dramatic, given that his manic figure hears voices in his head. Cerny’s characterization, it turns out, isn’t bad acting; it’s actually spot-on, and moved me from initial dislike – agreeing with Michael Carron’s crotchety, opinionated patriarch Christopher that Daniel should “F--- off!” – to sympathetic pity for this troubled person. It was also through Daniel's viewpoint that I experienced Raine's story of a constantly arguing family that cruelly teases each other, with their only sense of grounding coming from Calvin Vo’s Billy, the clan's ever-patient, deaf-from-birth younger son.


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All You Need Is Like: "As You Like It," at Augustana College through May 10
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Theatre

Category: Reviews

2015-05-05 12:00:00

Jessica Holzknecht, Rowan Crow, and Keenan Odenkirk in As You Like It; photo courtesy of Augustana Photo Bureau/Nadia Panasky '17Director Jennifer Popple’s decision to set her Augustana College production of As You Like It in the 1960s is one of the most appropriate changes in time-setting for theatrical material I’ve yet witnessed. Such shifts sometimes seem gimmicky, or are better in concept than execution, but here it works, and works well.
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Farce to Be Reckoned With: "Figaro," at Augustana College through October 27
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Theatre

Category: Reviews

2013-10-21 12:00:00

Leslie Kane and Joshua Pride in Figaro (photo by Daisy Hoang, Augustana Photo Bureau)Augustana College’s Figaro is a fine example of how witty, self-referential humor makes for a better farce than does banal innuendo and silly, unrealistic door slamming. Playwright Charles Morey’s recent adaptation of Pierre Beaumarchais’ The Marriage of Figaro (written in 1778) is sharply funny, filled with references to Beaumarchais’ original trilogy (“It would take an Italian opera to describe [the plot.]”) and digs at the rich (“How clever of you, sir, to be rich rather than smart.”) There’s still sexual innuendo and slamming doors, but Morey’s script is so much quick-paced, pointedly humorous fun that the two-hour presentation rises above the level of most bedroom farce, especially considering that this production is populated by such a well-cast ensemble.


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The Young and the Restless: "subUrbia," at Augustana College through May 5
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Theatre

Category: Reviews

2013-04-29 12:00:00

John D'Aversa, Joshua Malone, and Bill Cahill in subUrbiaAugustana College’s production of subUrbia features one of the most (if not the most) layered and fascinating sets I’ve yet seen on a local stage, as Adam Parboosingh's scenic design manages to give us both a brick storefront – including parking spaces, cement parking bumps, scaffolding, a dumpster, and even a period-appropriate, mid-'90s pay phone – and the fully stocked interior of a convenience store at the same time. Consequently, Parboosingh’s set rendered Friday’s performance interesting well before the play even started, offering much to take in visually while we waited for the proverbial curtain to rise.


Read More About The Young And The Restless: "SubUrbia," At Augustana College Through May 5...





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