Archive for the tag “registration”

Night of the Magician

WHAT: Night of the Magician
WHEN: January 31 – February 24 (see schedule for details)
WHERE: Chopin Theatre (1543 W. Division Ave.)
RUNTIME: 1 hour and 15 minutes with no intermission
HOST: Screen Door
PRICE: $15

OUR RATING: Chance It!

(chopintheatre.com)

(chopintheatre.com)

If you’ve never been to the Chopin Theatre, it’s a treat for the senses. Part performing arts space, part cabaret and part 19th century cafe, this is the sort of venue Storefront City would love to own if we opened a theatre. It seems magical and timeless, and that makes it a perfect locale for Night of the Magician.

(moviesarebetterlive.com)

(moviesarebetterlive.com)

The company, Screen Door, produces live movie events, causing you to be assailed from all directions by sound, sight and movement. Prior to the main event, this movie begins like all other films on the big screen, but with a twist. Each night a different theater or screening company performs a live movie trailer, promoting their ongoing or upcoming performance – of course without revealing any of the plot twists. This week, it was Whiskey Rebellion Theatre, previewing their Whiskey Radio Hour. This is a great way to get coming attractions out there both fast and fun.

(moviesarebetterlive.com)

(moviesarebetterlive.com)



But on to the main event, which is Screen Door’s first feature length Live Movie, although back in March they premiered I Am a Rocket Scientist, a shorter sci-fi musical Live Movie experience. Written and directed by Jack Lawrence Mayer and David Milton Brent, Night of the Magician is screened before you, actors merge with the movie, sound effects are generated live by a foley artist and music is provided by a band, The Ides of March. In Night of the Magician, Matilda (Ellie Reed), a girl rendered mute by a terrible tragedy, seeks her lost brother (Daniel Desmarais) in a desolate industrial town. Pitted against her are the mysterious forces of Isabelle Lewis (Martine Moore), the heiress to the town factory, the mysterious Magician, and an awful Beast that lives in the woods.

(moviesarebetterlive.com)

(moviesarebetterlive.com)

Adam: I was extremely excited to attend my first ever live movie. It’s a concept that is so novel and innovative, that one is immediately intrigued, and with a title like Night of the Magician, you cannot help but feel you may be transported to those ancient picture-houses, in which music was twinkled out on an old piano, titles flashed in a bright white on black, and sound effects were invented by a “man behind the curtain.” All these expectations were met, other than that the piano man was actually a full-piece band.

(moviesarebetterlive.com)

(moviesarebetterlive.com)

What most impressed me about this production was the cast of amazing characters. The moody and otherworldly performances brought an uncanny realism to the film, which placed you at close quarters with each of the people involved. Mrs. Winter (Gigi Fenlon) provided an expressive, if all too brief, performance as an innkeeper, building tension in her exceptional attention to the very detail of her character. Another outstanding performance was given by Gina Marie Hernandez as the Healer, with a shocking videographic interlude that might be straight out of the opening sequence of American Horror Story.

Another detail I much appreciated was the scene selection, which perfectly painted the dark reality of an industrial complex that seemed to absolutely exist, mainly due to the careful knitting together of locations by a skilled director.

(moviesarebetterlive.com)

(moviesarebetterlive.com)

My one major criticism was not with the performance itself, but in its unfolding. Often, so much was occurring at once around me, that it became unclear on where to affix my attention. Mainly, I focused on the film screen, but I would have been interested to see the effect multiple screens around the room would have had, perhaps showing different perspectives, and thus allowing one to concentrate on the entire experience rather than a few select elements.

(Credit: Joe Mazza at Brave-Lux)

(Credit: Joe Mazza at Brave-Lux)



Alicia: Being a techie at heart, I’m like a kid at a candy store when I get a ‘behind-the-scenes’ view of how anything is created or performed. Because of this, my focus of the night was on the pieces of the film which were produced live right amidst the audience and screened right then and there. When I entered the theater space, it was hard not to notice a huge track laid down at the back of the house, which was used to guide a camera dolly. The rules regarding the camera dolly’s use were clear and strategic, with only stories ‘of the past’ being filmed, quite ironically, in the present. However, while the theory and practice behind these pieces of the production were quite masterful, I couldn’t help wanting to turn my head and watch what was really happening on the dolly track versus what was happening on the screen. What would have really made this a much more intriguing experience would have been if the track was integrated even more amidst the audience so as to become a much more present piece of the live experience.

Another intriguing component of the experience that just needed to take a few steps further was the traversing of actors from the screen and into the live environment and back again. I really wanted a more fleshed out 2D versus 3D experience, and while I was tantalized by a few beautiful transitions, particularly by the character of Frederich, there just wasn’t enough of a relationship there.

(Credit: Joe Mazza at Brave-Lux)

(Credit: Joe Mazza at Brave-Lux)

Overall, there just wasn’t enough “live” and “filmed” visual integration for me (the foley effects and live band really did their auditory jobs masterfully). The components were there, and I’m not sure if the space Screen Door produced in limited them in this respect (I can only imagine it must have), but some aspects of the night seemed too piecemeal, and it was odd having the last twenty or so minutes of the performance be almost pure film work. And ultimately, the least fulfilling aspects of the performance were the shadow puppets, which felt more slapped in out of artistic interest rather than really worked into the piece, but I usually set relatively high stakes for any production attempting to integrate this art form, so I shan’t be too harsh.

(moviesarebetterlive.com)

(moviesarebetterlive.com)

Final Thoughts: In our opinion, Night of the Magician provides a hauntingly beautiful performance in a developing art form. If you would like a unique experience that you cannot possibly get elsewhere, Screen Door provides it, and we are convinced that their production will only become more sure and steady in the future.

(moviesarebetterlive.com)

(moviesarebetterlive.com)

Although we sat in the main section, we suggest you try to get a seat at the very back of the theater (just beyond the tracks) if it’s a packed enough house. Although some of the sightlines may be difficult, this way, you’ll get a better vantage point of both the live film and foley work. Why not get a first hand look at what really makes this event live and breathe in the moment? And make sure to stick around in the lounge and listen to live music, have a few drinks at the bar, and enjoy the thoughts of others you just shared this experience with.


P.S. We would like to briefly comment on the behavior of some of the audience members throughout the production. During some of the more important parts of the movie, a select group of audience members took it upon themselves to laugh in a mocking, childish and totally inappropriate manner. We felt ashamed to be part of the same audience as these juvenile, haughty and blatantly discourteous individuals. We are of the opinion that such people have no place in the world of respectful theatre and should be removed to the unintellectually bawdy fringes where they belong.

The Paper Machete

WHAT: The Paper Machete (Variety Show)
WHEN: Every Saturday from 3pm
WHERE: The Green Mill (4802 N. Broadway Ave.)

OUR RATING:
Do It!–Our experience
Chance It!–Possible future performances

(thepapermacheteshow.com)

(thepapermacheteshow.com)

The Paper Machete is a town crier for the modern age, providing audiences with amusing, serious and diverse entertainment covering pop culture, current events and a good dose of musical interlude. Originally launched in 2010, and created and hosted by writer Christopher Piatt, The Paper Machete tickles nearly every fancy, and allows one to experience the iconic cocktail lounge The Green Mill (of Prohibition fame) in the same manner as generations past: with a complete variety show.

Creator and Host Christopher Priatt (thepapermacheteshow.com)

Christopher Priatt (thepapermacheteshow.com)

Every Saturday afternoon at 3pm, this “live magazine” offers patrons a chance to connect with stars from the likes of iO, The Second City, the Neo-Futurists and beyond. Named best comedy variety show of 2011 by the Chicago Reader, the show encompasses an array of performances that are sure not to disappoint regulars and newcomers alike.

(greenmilljazz.com)

(greenmilljazz.com)

This past Saturday, Storefront City had a chance to visit this historic location and listen along to this rapid-fire magazine of popular thought. Our afternoon began with a rather serious interlude into environmental protection by Rachael Mason of iO. What appeared at first to be a paean for environmental action, soon showed its true colours as an amusing reflection on her childhood poetry for Earth Day, that brought up important and pertinent issues related to the recent Hurricane Sandy and its effects on her family. Masterfully blending humor and reality, Mason kept our attention and made us appreciate the awesome destructive power of nature, and man’s influence on it.

The Green Mill (courtesy of Tom Gill)

The Green Mill (courtesy of Tom Gill)

In keeping with this serious nature, Lisa Buscani of the Neo-Futurists’ investigation into the sordid world of Sandusky, from the perspective of another inmate at the same prison, provided a reflective moment to appreciate the situation of those who are behind bars and the circumstances that lead society to imprison.

Ike Holter

Ike Holter

But, let’s be honest, a magazine is never all about it’s newsworthy material, and we were treated to an inventive series of laughs as well. Ike Holter, popular playwright of Hit the Wall (first performed by The Inconvenience at Steppenwolf last year, and now moving to Off-Broadway), gave us an op-ed monologue musing on this year’s selection for the Academy Awards. Featuring quotes from “that owner of 7 Eleven who shouts at hipsters” to acceptances speeches themselves, Holter was full of ingenuity and verve.

(reformedwhores.com)

NYC’s Reformed Whores (reformedwhores.com)

And what variety show would be complete without music? We giggled with NYC musical comedy duo Reformed Whores, and swung along to the dulcet tones of Bethany Thomas (of Porgy and Bess fame), who created an atmosphere entirely appropriate to such a venerated establishment as The Green Mill.

Chad the Bird (wbez.org)

Chad the Bird (wbez.org)

A well-rounded current events publication needs a sports section, this one provided by resident puppet Chad the Bird (a Josh Zagoren creation). Staging in the venue was divided between the main stage towards the back, and the bar area, where Chad gave us his weekly sports roundup.

Matt Braunger (thepapermachete.com)

Matt Braunger (thepapermacheteshow.com)

Finally, Matt Braunger (love your website!) provided the capstone to the afternoon, also performing from the bar area. With topics covering Chicago staples such as certain kinds of people on the #22 bus, to tripped out nights dressed as clowns downtown, Braunger tapped into the audience and hit all the right notes. We highly recommend you see him if you can in the future.

Bethany Thomas (courtesy of Jeremy Rill)

Bethany Thomas (courtesy of Jeremy Rill)

Busy on Saturday afternoons? Not to worry! Every week The Paper Machete and host WBEZ create a podcast, also known as “The Paper Machete Radio Magazine,” with selections from the latest show.

The Paper Machete comes highly recommended from Storefront City. Best enjoyed with a couple of friends (the space is crowded) and a relaxed attitude, performances may vary week to week, but if the quality remains the same as last time, you will not be disappointed.

Post Navigation