As of January 1, 2016, Gapers Block has ceased publication. 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 over the past 12-plus years. 

TODAY

Wednesday, December 13

Gapers Block
Search

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


A/C
« Overheard Illustrated: "Take" Go See: Jimmy of Nazareth »

Theater Mon Oct 10 2011

Octavarius's History Lesson: Did Mrs. O'Leary's Cow Cause the Great Chicago Fire?

"The hot cow's back!" my friend whispered to me about 30 minutes into Octavarius: Trial of the O'Leary Cow. CowOctavarius1.jpg
It's odd for a man dressed in a cow suit to be called "hot," but the costume worked for improv performer Nick Mikula. A member of comedy troupe Octavarius, Mikula played the title role in the show, staged on October 9--the 140th anniversary of the Great Chicago Fire.

It's long been debated whether Mrs. O'Leary's cow actually started the devastating fire, which ran from October 8 through October 10, 1871, and destroyed more than three square miles of the burgeoning city, by kicking over a kerosene lantern. The debate played out on the ComedySportz stage, with audience members and group members holding up premade signs that read, "GUILTY," "INNOCENT," and "GOT MILK?" A jury of handpicked audience members sat on stage, watching the strange proceedings unfold.JuryOctavarius.JPGAfter the prosecutor revealed top-secret "slides" featuring the cow, Mr. and Mrs. O'Leary, and (of course) Vanna White that showed the cow purposefully kicking over the lantern, the audience jury had no choice but to convict the hot cow.FireOctavarius.JPGThe trial part of the show felt a bit disjointed. At one point, Garrison the prosecutor (played by Marc Muszynski) called an expert witness: an improv duo who called themselves the Sidekicks. "They may not be experts in fire, animal relations, or genocide," Garrison said, "but they are experts in comedy and laughter." Even though the 20-minute set split the trial awkwardly in half, one member of the duo--acting as a "reformed criminal"--pretty incredibly mimed his crime of murdering Richard Nixon with a sack of doorknobs on Space Mountain.

Ultimately, the strongest part of the show was what Octavarius does best: the improv. After the conclusion of the trial, the nine-member cast broke into about a half hour of improv, enacting scenes about really high-alcohol beverages, giant-spider-infested bushes, and clown school.

See Octavarius perform at ComedySportz (929 W. Belmont Ave.) in two upcoming murder-mystery improv shows: Octavarius: Murder at Wakefield Manor, October 16, 7pm; and Octavarius: Case of the Hindenburg Murders, October 23, 7pm.

 
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 »

Blogroll

ACRE
An Angry White Guy
Antena
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
Collaboraction
Contemporary Art Space
Co-op Image Group
Co-Prosperity Sphere
Chicago Urban Art Society
Creative Control
Defibrillator
Devening Projects
Digressions
DIY Film
ebersmoore
The Exhibition Agency
The Flatiron Project
F newsmagazine
The Gallery Crawl...
Galerie F
The Gaudy God
Happy Dog Gallery
HollywoodChicago
Homeroom Chicago
I, Homunculus
Hyde Park Artcenter Blog
InCUBATE
Joyce Owens: Artist on Art
J-Pointe
Julius Caesar
Kasia Kay Gallery
Kavi Gupta Gallery
Rob Kozlowski
Lookingglass Theatre Blog
Lumpen Blog
Marquee
Mess Hall
N'DIGO
Neoteric Art
NewcityArt
NewcityFilm
NewcityStage
Not If But When
Noun and Verb
On Film
On the Make
Onstage
Peanut Gallery
Peregrine Program
Performink
The Poor Choices Show
Pop Up Art Loop
The Post Family
The Recycled Film
Reversible Eye
Rhona Hoffman Gallery
Roots & Culture Gallery
SAIC Blog
The Seen
Sharkforum
Sisterman Vintage
Site of Big Shoulders
Sixty Inches From Center
Soleil's To-Do's
Sometimes Store
Steppenwolf.blog
Stop Go Stop
Storefront Rebellion
TOC Blog
Theater for the Future
Theatre in Chicago
The Franklin
The Mission
The Theater Loop
Thomas Robertello Gallery
threewalls
Time Tells Tony Wight Gallery
Uncommon Photographers
The Unscene Chicago
The Visualist
Vocalo
Western Exhibitions
What's Going On?
What to Wear During an Orange Alert?
You, Me, Them, Everybody
Zg Gallery

GB store

 

Events


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, nancy@gapersblock.com
A/C staff inbox: ac@gapersblock.com

Archives

 

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