Saturday, June 7, 2008 at the Printers Row Book Fair, you can catch Ensemble Members Thomas J. Cox and John Musial chatting with Algren scholar Bill Savage about Nelson Algren. They'll discuss Algren's role in the Chicago literary world, as well as why John Musial wanted to bring Algren's stories to the stage, and how he went about adapting the text. Thom Cox will contribute with his unique interpretation of the character of Nelson Algren.
Don't miss this one-of-a-kind opportunity to listen in on this fascinating discussion!
Right now at the MCA you can see dozens of fantastic photos by the renowned Chicago photographer Art Shay. He was good friends with Nelson Algren, and is well known for his depiction of the Chicago underbelly in which Algren lived. The exhibit runs through the end of our production, June 29, 2008. Enter the Museum of Contemporary Art on ground level at Pearson and Mies Van Der Rohe Way to peruse the photos.
Here's a little more information:
Ensemble member Thom Cox writes about how he first got involved in the what eventually became our production of Nelson Algren: For Keeps and a Single Day.
Two years ago, I was performing in a Lookingglass production called The Great Fire, adapted and directed by John Musial using eyewitness accounts of the Chicago Fire of 1871. During the rehearsals for that show, as an ensemble, we examined and discussed our personal relationships to the city, and the show made an effort to have people become aware of their own. So, this idea of a personal relationship to Chicago was already present when John came to me with a slim book and asked me to read it. "I think we should do this," he said.
It was Chicago: City on the Make by Nelson Algren.
I read the book that night, and was overwhelmed by the imagery and language that Algren used to portray his very personal relationship to this city. The poetic rhythms and beautiful images of a city struggling with itself were at the same time a revelation and very familiar to me. I found myself thinking, "I know this city, we've met."
Company members mentioned in this entry: John Musial
Ensemble member and director of Nelson Algren: For Keeps and a Single Day John Musial writes about what first attracted him to the works of the great Chicago writer.
"For keeps and a single day" is a life sentence. It is what a judge would say when announcing the decision, driving home the point, "Your fate is sealed, there is no escape." This phrase is something that writer Nelson Algren heard spoken in the court rooms and on the streets of the city he chronicled some four decades ago. The man had a gift for hearing the language spoken around him and spinning it into poetry. He did the same for the lives and stories of the underclass people he saw all around him in his West Side three flat apartment - the struggling, dispossessed people society tried to ignore. Algren didn't ignore them. He knew their humanity and labored to be a voice for them. He believed that a writer had accomplished a pretty great task if, in one lifetime, he could tell the story of the block he lived on. Chicago of the 1940's, 50's and 60's was Algren's block, and it is a story he told more compellingly and with greater compassion and insight that any writer since Carl Sandburg.
We began rehearsals for Around the World this week. It is great to have Laura Eason back in the directors chair. She is quite a talent. Here is an interview with her from the Hephaestus program for those who might have missed it. Hope to see you there...
Jules Verneâ€™s classic story is next up on the Lookingglass main stage. We asked Ensemble member Laura Eason, who is directing her world premiere adaptation, a few questions about what sheâ€™s envisioning.
For those ArtAntica fans out there, our online magazine will be moving from it's present location at http://lookingglassmagazine.org to this new site you are now browsing in April with the release of our Around the World in 80 Days issue. At that time all the content from previous issues will also move to this site so that it can be browsed using drop down menus like those in the images section and elsewhere.
Welcome to the new Lookingglass Theatre Company website and our new blog. For the past year and a half our blog has been housed at http://www.lookingglassmagazine.org/unedited/ and that site has served us well. Thanks to our most prolific bloggers, Tony Hernandez, J Nicole Brooks, Sara Gmitter and others, unedited has provide a great forum for discussion.