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

« Silent Summer @ The Portage Theater Daniel Pritzker's Louis Debuts in Chicago with Wynton Marsalis »

Theater Tue Jul 27 2010

Review: State Theatre's Talk Radio

It wasn't until I saw The Nine's raucous staging of Suburbia this past winter that I realized how irrelevant Eric Bogosian's plays have become. But while that production had its problems, it still utilized its bare-bones budget and empty playing space to breathe life into a grating, dated piece of work. The State Theatre's current production of Bogosian's Talk Radio (which is, arguably, his best and most relevant play), which follows Barry Champlain, a shock-talk DJ on the night before his popular radio show goes national, overpopulates, overcrowds, and over-conceptualizes by burying the text beneath bundles of wire, video screens, and Mac computers that have no place in a play set in 1987.

The State, a young and ambitious company, is clearly into technology, social networking, and how we can incorporate them into live performance. They stream their rehearsals online and encourage audience members to use their phones to take photos, send text messages, and update their Facebook and Twitter accounts during the show. These are bold innovations that raise important questions (and have already been generating some discussions in the Twitterverse). But lively debates don't always make for strong, implementable ideas. The abundance of modern technology onstage already provokes confusion in the play's Reagan-era universe, so what does it add to have bright squares of light popping up all over the dark theatre? In any other circumstance, I go nuts when I see cell phones out during a play or movie, so does having it sanctioned by the theatre make it any less distracting? I say no. The State leads us to believe this will heighten the themes of the play, and maybe with the right play it could, but here it reads as a cheap gimmick.

These misguided concepts could be forgiven, maybe, if the play itself was artistically sound. But director Ross Matsuda further muddies up the proceedings by giving us bodies to go along with the voices Bogosian provides in his script. While several of the actors, especially Rachel Griesinger and Jacob Murphy, give charming, spirited performances, Bogosian's play is about voices, and something is lost by their physical interactions with Barry, a man becoming more and more detached from the physical world.

There is still relevance within Bogosian's vitriol. His characters are exciting, his language is razor-sharp (if a bit dated), but maybe the key isn't in the amping up of superficial elements, but in their stripping down. Forget about the technology for a moment and focus on the art.

Talk Radio runs Thursdays through Saturdays at 8pm and Sundays at 3pm through August 15 at the Heartland Studio (7016 N. Glenwood Ave.). Tickets are $18 and available online or at the door.

GB store
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