Gapers Block has ceased publication.

Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
 Thank you for your readership and contributions. 


Friday, March 1

Gapers Block

Gapers Block on Facebook Gapers Block on Flickr Gapers Block on Twitter The Gapers Block Tumblr

« 500 Clown Goes Cabaret The International, Friday the 13th, Ballerina and Oscar-nominated Shorts, Part 2 »

Theatre Wed Feb 11 2009

Off the Couch to Go Get Slaphappy

The main reason for going out to see a play is getting yourself away from TV land, from Facebook, from yourself, and from the diseases of the postmodern age that haunt you and debilitate your humanity (think Internet-infused meltdown by way of believing that the world you encounter online is real). That's why I went and saw the play Slaphappy recently. Written by Gary Slezak and directed by Richard Shavzin, the show is mounted at the Theatre Building Chicago until March 15. Although the three-act play contains none of movingly cathartic or deeply thoughtful elements I gravitate towards I enjoyed its whimsical element. And like every former (or current) American expat in Europe or frequent traveler to Paris I got a kick out of poking fun at the pate-obsessed French.

The story wraps itself around two middle-aged American expatriates in Paris coming to terms with lost love, divorce, binge drinking and overdoses on pessimistic nihilism and depression. The fact that the play confronts these heavy issues through the lens of light comic farce deserves merits.

Here's what I liked:

* The set. It's a pretty picture of a Paris hotel, with the token French windows leading out to a balcony view of the Eiffel Tower. All of my visits to Paris were spent at crappy hotels, which while cheap and dingy, afforded some kind of awesome view, either a tiny window balcony, or picturesque view of street scene.
* I like how the play through its characters appeals to all ages. Older folks can relate to the middle-aged divorcees -- the boozy and beautiful Lauren (Judy Blue) and her anguished, intellectual ex-husband Stanek (Mitchell Joseph). For younger viewers, the strapping young Philippe, the French bellboy played by Lucas Neff is easy on the eyes and does a smashing good accent and convincing character portrayal. Barely dressed French Cherie (Annie DiMaria) appeals to men of all ages and women who secretly fantasize of running around a French hotel in various revealing negligees throwing themselves at men.
* The interwoven story about saving the ducks from the evil French who don't care enough about the cruelty involved in fattening the livers of male ducks and geese for their beloved foie gras. I don't care what anybody says -- I agree with Philippe. Let's save the ducks!
* I loved the character of Philippe, who asks everyone "How can I make you happy?" then does his utmost to live up to this life mission.
* The point that tortured artists like to be tortured and in fact derive a kind of bizarre happiness from it.

What I didn't like:

* It's a busy play, with the characters all over the stage. And I'm not a big fan of romantic comedies, unless there's some black comedy or intellectual pondering involved. Yet I took heart in the play's message. "Better than being careful is to be pure in art!"

GB store

Ann Fink / March 9, 2009 5:47 PM

Heads up: You can also catch Judy Blue in the March 2009 engagement of "Menopause The Musical" presented by Centre East at the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts in Skokie.

GB store

Architecture Tue Nov 03 2015

Paul Goldberger Describes the "Pragmatism and Poetry" of Frank Gehry's Architecture in His New Book

By Nancy Bishop

Architecture critic Paul Goldberger talks about Frank Gehry's life and work in a new book.
Read this feature »

Steve at the Movies Fri Jan 01 2016

Best Feature Films & Documentaries of 2015

By Steve Prokopy

Read this column »


An Angry White Guy
AREA Chicago
ArchitectureChicago Plus
Arts Engagement Exchange
The Art Letter
Art or Idiocy?
Art Slant Chicago
Art Talk Chicago
Bad at Sports
Bite and Smile
Brian Dickie of COT
Bridgeport International
Carrie Secrist Gallery
Chainsaw Calligraphy
Chicago Art Blog
Chicago Art Department
Chicago Art Examiner
Chicago Art Journal
Chicago Artists Resource
Chicago Art Map
Chicago Art Review
Chicago Classical Music
Chicago Comedy Examiner
Chicago Cultural Center
Chicago Daily Views
Chicago Film Examiner
Chicago Film Archives
Chicago Gallery News
Chicago Uncommon
Contemporary Art Space
Co-op Image Group
Co-Prosperity Sphere
Chicago Urban Art Society
Creative Control
Devening Projects
DIY Film
The Exhibition Agency
The Flatiron Project
F newsmagazine
The Gallery Crawl...
Galerie F
The Gaudy God
Happy Dog Gallery
Homeroom Chicago
I, Homunculus
Hyde Park Artcenter Blog
Joyce Owens: Artist on Art
Julius Caesar
Kasia Kay Gallery
Kavi Gupta Gallery
Rob Kozlowski
Lookingglass Theatre Blog
Lumpen Blog
Mess Hall
Neoteric Art
Not If But When
Noun and Verb
On Film
On the Make
Peanut Gallery
Peregrine Program
The Poor Choices Show
Pop Up Art Loop
The Post Family
The Recycled Film
Reversible Eye
Rhona Hoffman Gallery
Roots & Culture Gallery
The Seen
Sisterman Vintage
Site of Big Shoulders
Sixty Inches From Center
Soleil's To-Do's
Sometimes Store
Stop Go Stop
Storefront Rebellion
TOC Blog
Theater for the Future
Theatre in Chicago
The Franklin
The Mission
The Theater Loop
Thomas Robertello Gallery
Time Tells Tony Wight Gallery
Uncommon Photographers
The Unscene Chicago
The Visualist
Western Exhibitions
What's Going On?
What to Wear During an Orange Alert?
You, Me, Them, Everybody
Zg Gallery

GB store



A/C on Flickr

Join the A/C Flickr Pool.

About A/C

A/C is the arts and culture section of Gapers Block, covering the many forms of expression on display in Chicago. More...
Please see our submission guidelines.

Editor: Nancy Bishop,
A/C staff inbox:



A/C Flickr Pool
 Subscribe in a reader.

GB store

GB Store

GB Buttons $1.50

GB T-Shirt $12

I ✶ Chi T-Shirts $15