Top Five Things to Do This Week

On the agenda: Football, bachelorette parties take a dramatic turn … Sundance lands at the Music Box … free Schubert … plus, what ICE’s Claire Chase is doing this weekend

A scene from 'Motion'
HOME FIELD ADVANTAGE Motion (above), the follow-up to Ronan Marra’s sold-out
2010 play, Aftermath, premieres at Signal Ensemble Theatre.

THE FIVE

Don’t-miss picks for Wed 1.25.12 through Tue 1.31.12:

1

theatre Motion
The last Ronan Marra premiere, the Rolling Stones rock-doc Aftermath, rolled through multiple extensions and sold-out houses. This time around, the playwright and Signal Ensemble Theatre coartistic director plays the field, ditching the guitars for gridirons and the tale of a top football draft pick who has to play ball with his ex-wife. Will Marra score without a jukebox of tunes in his playbook? Will the Patriots win the Super Bowl? Tune in to find out. (Extra point: An onstage Super Bowl party follows the matinee performance on 2/5; tickets are $30.)
GO: Previews 1/26–27; $10. Run continues through 3/3; $15–$20. Signal Ensemble Theatre, 1802 W Berenice. signalensemble.com

ALSO THIS WEEK: A trio of senior Steppenwolf ensemble members—actors Francis Guinan and Sally Murphy and director Austin Pendleton—tackles the life of a war correspondent who survives a bomb blast only to find the home front lacking in domestic tranquility. Previews of Time Stands Still continue through 1/28; the play runs through 5/13 at Steppenwolf.

2

theatre Bachelorette
And one for the girls: At this play’s titular prenuptial bash, the partygoers (including one aptly named for King Lear’s obscenely nefarious daughter Regan) indulge in catfights and cocaine, and the wedding is really just an excuse for the playwright Leslye Headland’s vicious dialogue—which, by the way, includes some hair-raisingly frank talk about oral sex.
GO: Previews through 1/25; $15. Run continues through 3/11; $35–$40. Profiles Theatre, 4147 N Broadway. profilestheatre.org

3

classical Ethel
This New York string quartet may share your grandmother’s name, but pretty much everything it plays was composed after she retired. Fresh off a 2011 residency at New York’s übercool Park Avenue Armory (and, before that, a gig as the house band of the 2010 TED conference), the ensemble performs a Native American–inspired program with the Taos Pueblo–born, Grammy-winning flutist Robert Mirabal.
GO: 1/28 at 7:30. $24. Performing Arts Center, Dominican U, 7900 W Division, River Forest. dom.edu/pac

ALSO THIS WEEK: Another New York powerhouse, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, launches its three-year concert series 1/27 at Harris Theater with a big gun sitting in: the ace clarinetist and Avery Fisher winner David Shifrin. Meanwhile, Riccardo Muti leads the CSO in Carl Orff’s heart-thumping Carmina burana 1/26–28 and 1/31 at Symphony Center.

4

rock Kathleen Edwards
Examining death, bad relationships, and more death, the Canadian singer-songwriter turns her dour outlook into bracing country-folk, delivering plaintive melodies indebted to Neil Young in a tough-minded North Country drawl. Hard times never sounded so good.
GO: 1/26 at 8. $20. Lincoln Hall, 2424 N Lincoln. lincolnhallchicago.com

5

film 2 Days in New York
Bummer: Tickets to Matt Damon (yes, that Matt Damon) emceeing this week’s The People Speak, Live! at Metro are sold out. But you can still snag seats for the world premiere of 2 Days in New York, one of nine Sundance Film Festival satellite screenings taking place nationwide on 1/26. Alexia Landeau, who appears in and cowrote the flick, a sequel to 2007’s 2 Days in Paris, hosts a postfilm Q&A, with Julie Delpy, the film’s cowriter, director, and star, weighing in via Skype.
GO: 1/26 at 7:30. $12. Music Box Theatre, 3733 N Southport. musicboxtheatre.com

WHAT I’M DOING THIS WEEKEND

Flutist Claire Chase
Claire Chase

Up next in our series of weekend plans from people we like: Claire Chase, flutist and executive director of the supercool dual-residency (Chicago, Brooklyn) new-music group International Contemporary Ensemble. You can catch Chase performing at the Art Institute 1/27 at 6.

“Friday night I’m playing a world premiere called Descent from Parnassus by Chicago composer Marcos Balter. The piece takes its inspiration from Cy Twombly’s painting The First Part of the Return from Parnassus. Marcos and I were both drawn to this piece, and we spent hours standing in front of it on various visits to the Art Institute, imagining ways that it could come alive sonically in space. This performance involves me speaking, whispering, sometimes screaming at the top of my lungs, and hyperventilating. It’s going to be very dramatic and hopefully hysterical. This will take the cake for the craziest thing I’ve done in public.

“Saturday morning I’m rehearsing with a friend of mine—Katinka Kleijn, left-hand cellist for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra—for a private concert we’re putting on at a friend’s house. We’re recreating Bach’s Two-Part Keyboard Inventions, Numbers 1 through 15, which was originally created for the keyboard, for the flute and cello. It’ll be interspersed with improvisations and new compositions inspired by the original.

“Sunday morning I’m flying to New York to rehearse for a world premiere that’s back here in Chicago February 5 at the MCA. It’s a concert in honor of the trombonist and composer George Lewis. It takes his work and puts it into context with three astonishingly experimental young ICE composers.

“Hopefully I’ll make time before I leave for my three favorite places in Chicago: Big Chicks, a bar in Uptown; this amazing Greek restaurant in Wicker Park, Taxim, that tastes like authentic home cooking; and Lao Sze Chuan in Chinatown. Lao Sze Chuan has the best Szechuan food in this city—better yet, in the country. It’s really spicy, so you suffer for a couple days after, but it’s totally worth it and keeps you craving.” —As told to Heather Youkhana

FREEBIES OF THE WEEK

classical Schubertiade
Restless Schubert fans, the wait is over: It’s time once again to toast the birth of your favorite composer with an annual music marathon. Here’s hoping you’ve been conditioning for the six straight hours of idolatry, inspired by the maestro’s own musical soirées. If you’re not in it for the long run, stop by at 8:45 for the sing-along finale, An die Musik.
GO: 1/28 from 3 to 9. Free; donations accepted. Pianoforte Foundation, 410 S Michigan. pianofortefoundation.org

galleries Morbid Curiosity: The Richard Harris Collection
The title says it all: The retired antique prints dealer Harris amassed an eclectic set of some 1,000 ancient artifacts, decorative and fine-art objects, and oddities connected not by era or genre, as most collections are, but by their shared subject—death. Hear Harris discuss the exhibit 1/29 at 3.
GO: 1/28–7/8. Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E Washington. chicagoculturalcenter.org

 

Photography: (MOTION) Johnny Knight; (CHASE) David Michalek

 

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