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. 


Monday, October 2

Gapers Block

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

« The Invisible Woman, Gimme Shelter, The Broken Circle Breakdown, Here Comes the Devil, Maidentrip & An Honest Living Photo Exhibition Documents Japan Pre-Disaster »

Theater Sun Jan 26 2014

It's a Dark Fairy Tale in Sideshow Theatre's The Golden Dragon


Photo by Jonathan L. Green.

The Golden Dragon by German playwright Roland Schimmelpfennig is a fanciful story presented by Sideshow Theatre Company. It's a sort of dark fairy tale about the workers, residents and guests at a Thai/Chinese/Vietnamese fast food restaurant in a warehouse building in a certain global city. We are not sure where, but it doesn't matter.

The play is made up of the intertwined stories of 15 or 20 characters, played by five actors who quickly move from role to role without regard to gender, nationality or costume. Scenes are quick cuts from one event to another as if cinematically edited.

The characters include the cooks and servers in the restaurant, a young couple who live in an apartment above, the young woman's grandfather, a man in a striped shirt, a woman in a red dress whose marriage is fraying, the owner of the adjacent convenience store, and two flight attendants who frequent the restaurant and live upstairs. Not to be forgotten is a young boy with a terrible toothache, whose tooth is pulled by one of the cooks with a red wrench. Strange things happen to the boy and to the tooth, involving more than a touch of magical realism.

Another story thread is the fable of the ant and the cricket (you may know it as Aesop's "The Grasshopper and the Ant"). The practical ant refuses to help the playful, hungry cricket and the cricket turns to illicit means to support herself. Her story recurs throughout the other characters' lives, with disturbing twists and turns.

The actors who lead us through their tangled stories are Matt Fletcher, David Lawrence Hamilton, Darla Harper, Deanna Myers and Noah Sullivan.

Directors Jonathan L. Green and Marti Lyons do an excellent job as guides through the aberrations of this 65-minute play. The simple scenic design by William Boles is enhanced by John Kelly's lighting. Christopher M. LaPorte's original music is a key feature.

Schimmelpfennig is one of today's most-produced European playwrights, whose works have been translated into 20 languages. He has said "the most basic element of theater is changing and being someone else." This play fulfills that element completely.

His script is stylized, rather than naturalistic. The actors often narrate what they're going to do before they do it. "The flight attendants eat in silence. They have spent 18 hours together and have nothing more to say." They speak stage directions as well, adding "pause" or "short pause." The actors announce the orders placed in the kitchen with all their ingredients. "Number 6: Thai soup with chicken, coconut milk, Thai ginger, tomatoes, button mushrooms, lemon grass and lemon leaves (hot)."

The Golden Dragon may seem confusing if you try to view it as a traditional story. Just enjoy the flow of scenes about today's multicultural cities, clashing traditions and survival. "If I had just one wish..." is a thought repeated by several characters throughout the play.

The Golden Dragon runs through February 23 at Victory Gardens' Richard Christiansen Theater, 2433 N. Lincoln Ave. Tickets are $20-$25 and can be purchased online or by calling 773-871-3000. More information can be found here.

GB store

Bailey / January 27, 2014 12:41 PM

Is this a review or a book report?

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