Go See The Magnificents!

I made a New Year's resolution to take Shannon to a show every month. I think he's beginning to suspect a theme: each of the live productions I've brought him to over the last 6 months have had Molly Brennan involved.

I think he's also beginning to suspect that when Molly Brennan is involved, it's seriously worth seeing. Not only does she have one of the most expressive faces on the planet, but, man, does she know how to make a show fascinating.

In June it was The Sparrow.

Molly was Assistant Director of The Sparrow.


In July it was a double feature of 500 Clown! MacBeth and 500 Clown! Frankenstein

Molly is Kevin in 500 Clown!

I believe Paul Kalina (Shank of 500 Clown (far left), and the physical improv instructor who's been breaking us out of our molds the last 3 weeks) is Assistant Director of The Magnificents. He also clowns around with Molly in the production. In the middle is Adrian Danzig (aka Bruce) who had the pleasure of substitute teaching us for Paul 2 weeks ago.

It's amazing how different their teaching styles are - we wish we could take a full 6-week course with each of these three Clowns!

500 Clown! is taking 500 Clown! Frankenstein and 500 Clown! Christmas to New York in December, so if you know anybody living in The Big Apple, send them to the East Village December 12-19 (Frankenstein) or December 21-30 (Christmas). We don't intend to let them leave Chicago again.

To continue the Molly Brennan theme, this past Saturday we went to see the House Theatre of Chicago's production of The Magnificents! at the Viaduct theater.

The "It's tea time! It's tea time!" waltz

Molly directs The Magnificents! She's also assumed the role of the clown in the hoop "skirt" who, ironically, was called back to star in The Sparrow's return.

This play is amazing - for serious. It's a great story, and it's really interesting. During our walk back to Lincoln Square we speculated on the use of magic, the role of the clowns, what restaurant would still be open at 11PM on Western Ave., and the imagery of the cage all the way home. I was thrilled to see Molly as a clown. When I'd heard she was in the production as well as directing it, I had a hard time picturing her in a straight acting role. I was delighted to see her, Chase and Shank handing out tootsie rolls and clowning it up with the audience before the show. The clowns interacted with the audience and the cast of the play throughout the production, and far from being confusing - it really worked. The play has a very interesting commedia d'el arte feel to it. I'm not telling you any more. You'll have to see it yourself, and I can't recommend doing so enough.

Also, again, go see The Sparrow at The Apollo Theater. It's wonderful. And I think the same person does the animation in both plays....See them both for yourself and let me know what you think. (o;

Molly, as well as Adrian Danzig and Paul Kalina of 500 Clown!, are really succeeding in putting me off non-"fringe" theater. It's hard to get myself to buy tickets to see a straight play (I KNOW we should see The Crucible at The Steppenwolf, but how many clowns are in it? That's right! None!) after seeing these imaginative, fresh productions. And on another level, as an improviser, every time I see them I realize how much I have yet to learn...

...and how much I WANT to! They're having so much fun!

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