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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.
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Review Thu Dec 03 2009

Review: 1985 @The Factory Theater

1985.jpgChas Vrba's original script deftly combines the eerie, mind-controlled state of George Orwell's 1984 with the eerie, mind-controlled state of Chicago during the 1985 Bears season run in this down-home, funny and thoroughly enjoyable production. Do yourself a favor and watch 1984 on Netflix before coming to the show -- at times the parody is shot-for-shot and line-for-line, with hilarious results.

Vrba not only wrote the script but portrays the lead character, Winston, with an Andy Richter-like boyishness that amps up the irony in the piece. With an outstanding supporting cast that includes Scott Oken as O'Brien, Ernie Deak as George Halas (aka Papa Bear), and Laura McKenzie as Julia, an evening spent watching 1985 is the perfect antidote to the onset of Chicago winter with it's bewilderingly early sunsets (4:20pm!), the forced gaiety of the holidays, and the Bears' current season.

Every detail is designed to transport the audience back 25 years, from the soundtrack -- featuring the likes of Wham and Howard Jones, to the hairdos and the fierce sports rivalries that will always define Chicago. The Factory's Elston Avenue ambiance and industrial rolling metal door that separates the theater space from the lobby adds to the experience of stepping into an alternate, Orwellian universe.

This is theater you can bring your husband to; my own theater-eschewing spouse, who has said things to me on the subject like: "I find theater extremely embarrassing," laughed as hard as anyone else in the audience, and spent the rest of the evening quoting favorite lines from the show. The Factory has been getting a lot of attention for this production, and for good reason -- I've seen a number of Factory shows and this is hands-down the best one so far.

Catch this show before it becomes a memory as distant as a Bears championship. Shows on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays through December 19th. For tickets and information call (866) 811-4111 or visit The Factory Theater.

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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 »


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