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Theatre Fri May 10 2013

A Gazebo Among the Lemon Trees

A Red Orchid Theatre is presenting In a Garden by Howard Korder, a fast-moving and smartly written play in nine scenes spanning 15 years from 1989 to 2004. The play portrays the frustration of an ambitious American architect (played by Larry Grimm) proposing a design for a fictitious Middle Eastern country, which might be Iraq.

redorchid .jpgDirector Lou Contey keeps the action moving well, with quick scene changes made by a stage assistant, veiled and silent -- the only woman who appears. Broadcast news snippets between scenes set the time line. The tiny Red Orchid space is the office of the minister of culture (played by Rom Borkhardor), a man enamored of American pop culture and American architects. The architect and the minister develop an uneasy friendship over the years -- but the play, which starts out like a satire with many clever lines about truth and beauty, becomes darker as the scenes progress.

The architect is so desperate to see one of his designs built that he suffers through years of ambiguity and misdirection from his client (or patron, as the minister prefers). It's never clear who is making the decisions or if in fact a decision will ever be made to build the gazebo in a peaceful garden of lemon trees so desired by the minister.

In the final scene, everything has changed: the space, the architect's professional goals and the minister's status. The gazebo was finally built, but now is gone. The lemon trees remain--to be enjoyed by the office's new occupant: an American army officer.

The play runs through Sunday, May 19, with performances at 8 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday and at 3 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $15-30 and may be purchased online. For more information, call 312-943-8722.

Photo by Michael Brosilow courtesy of A Red Orchid Theatre.

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