Oracle’s THE MOTHER Is The Pinnacle Of Immersive Theater

Oracle-MOTHER-cred-Eleanor-Kahn-2If you ever wanted to experience immersive theatre at its finest then Oracle Theatre’s new production of Bertolt Brecht’s The Mother is a must see.  Based on Maxim Gorky’s 1906 novel Mother which was first staged in 1932, this new re-telling is expertly directed by Max Truax and mixes performance art with musical theatre.  The end result is a stirring look at the lengths a mother will go to protect her son.  

The Mother takes place on the cusp of the Bolshevik Revolution with underground propaganda being the catalyst for the reformers to bring about a regime change.   We are first introduced to Pelagea Vlassova (the sensational Katherine Keberlein) as a normal stay at home mother focused on domesticity (she loves soup).  Her son Pavel (the transfixing Rick Foresee), however, is a believer and is tasked with giving informational flyers to the factory workers to join the movement.  Knowing her son is in imminent danger, Pelagea takes her son’s place and the story moves from a maternal melodrama, to a very dark version of Norma Rae, with a much bloodier ending.

The Oracle space has been turned into a realistic workhouse (smartly designed by Ben Fuchsen) with five elongated tables that allow the amazing actors to work on three levels; the table tops, the main floor and underneath the structures.  Dark grey and brown costumes add to the cold, harsh reality of pending death these civilians were facing.   Jonathan Guillen’s music is sullen and repetitive as is the movement of the actors, which is choreographed with silted and precise movement direction by Lyndsay Rose Kane.

Whatever your feelings on the relevancy of Brecht, or if you have been unmoved by his work in the past, The Mother will surely give you a new perspective on his gritty prospective of the human condition.

The Mother plays through May 25, 2013 at The Oracle Theatre, 3809 N. Broadway, Chicago.  Performances are Fridays, Saturdays, Mondays at 8pm; Sundays at 7pm.  Tickets are free and available through publicaccesstheatre.org.  For calendar listings visit theatreinchicago.com 

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Show Information:

cast

Katherine Keberlein

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Palagea Vlassova (the mother of Pavel)

Rick Foresee

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Pavel Vlassov

Stephanie Polt*

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Masha

Havalah Grace

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Ivan

Jamie Bragg*

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Anton

Cody Proctor

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The Teacher (brother of Ivan)

Zachary Baker-Salmon

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Karpov, The Butcher

Sarah Pretz*

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The Police, A Worker, The Butcher’s Wife, The Landlady

Yael Wartens

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A Worker, The Housemaid

Eli Branson

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A Worker, Smilgin, Sostakovich

DeChantel Kosmatka

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The Commissioner

production team

PlaywrightBertolt Brecht
TranslatorSteve Gooch
DirectorMax Truax*
ComposerJonathan Guillen
Music DirectorNicholas Tonozzi
Music Arranged byNicholas Tonozzi & Jonathan Guillen
Assistant DirectorLaura K. Smith*
Set DesignEleanor Kahn
Lighting DesignEric Van Tassell
Costume DesignJoan Pritchard*
Video DesignJeremy Clark*
Sound DesignBen Fuchsen*
Properties DesignBrad Jayhan-Little*
Beer Design (See Below)Justin Snyder
Production ManagerKathleen Dickinson
Stage ManagerAllison Goetzman
Technical DirectorJustin Snyder
Movement DirectorLyndsay Rose Kane
Casting DirectorLyndsay Rose Kane
Graphic DesignEvelyn DeHais
ProducerTony Santiago
CarpentersJustin Snyder, Adam Clark, Ben Fuchsen*, Max Truax*, Marty Green
ProjectionistBen Fuchsen*
Assistant Lighting DesignerDavid Boren*
Executive ProducerBen Fuchsen*
Executive DirectorBrad Jayhan-Little*
Artistic DirectorMax Truax*

 

 

 

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