THEATRE:

Chicago Tribune/Chicago Reader Review

One of the top 2 shows to see in Chicago

'Automobile Graveyard'

BY : FERNANDO ARRABAL

 

DIRECTED BY : MICHAEL S. PIEPER

CAST : Tom Bateman, Michael McEvoy, Beata Pilch, Danny Belrose, Nicole Wiesner, Bob Rokos, Devon Schumacher, Peter Esposito, Garrett Prejean, Jeff Kain, Judy Loyd

Automobile Graveyard ...
A trio of musicians fleeing from the law seek refuge in an automobile junkyard.

at Trapdoor Theatre

OPENS : Wednesday June 20, 2001 at 8:00 p.m.

RUNS : Thursdays though Saturdays at 8:00 p.m.

ADMISSION : $25.00

WHERE: TRAP DOOR THEATRE 1655 West Cortland Ave. Chicago, IL. 60622.

For Reservations: 773-384-0494 / For Advance Tickets www.ticketweb.com



Judging by the number of audience members crammed into every nook and cranny of the Trap Door Theatre the other night, the avant-garde works of the Spanish-Moroccan emigre Fernando Arrabal have more appeal in modern-day Chicago than one might first think.

Michael S. Pieper directs Fernando Arrabal's 1957 satire on suburban communities and Christian values. "Arrabal's . . .absurdist update of the Crucifixion . . . should be dated by now. Its bizarre reversals of role and tone, its casual sex and even more casual cruelty, hark back to the style of earlier days, when Waiting for Godot made tragicomic meaninglessness both an art form and a social comment. The fact that The Automobile Graveyard stands up to the ravages of time and to comparison with Beckett is a tribute to [this] flawless production, [which] highlights every bit of Arrabal's insanity," says Chicago critic Kelly Kleiman.


Fernando Arrabal's 1960 play, an absudist update of the Crucifixion - Jesus is the lead in a garage band - should be dated by now. Its bizarre reversals of role and tone, its casual sex and even more casual cruelty, hark back to the style of earlier days, when WAITING FOR GODOT made tragi-comic meaninglessness both an art form and a social comment. The fact that the AUTOMOBILE GRAVEYARD stands up to the ravages of time and to comparison with Beckett is a tribute to Trap Door Theatre's flawless production and Michael S. Pieper's direction and set design. The staging highlights every bit of Arrabal's insanity, from making Jesus, Judas, and Peter into the Marx Brothers (the silent one speaks via harmonica) to conceiving of the world as a hotel run in abandoned cars by corrupt, unctuous bell captain (the spectacular Devon Schumacher). At its core is Danny Belrose as Emanou, balancing earnestness with playfulness and even descents into falsity. I would start a religion around him any day. Beata Pilch (who gives a terrific vanity-free performance) has worked costuming wonders with a few bolts of red cloth and some spangles, making Nicole Wiesner as Dila look irresistible. In other hands, the play's deep religiosity might seem quaint. But Trap Door knows not to nudge and wink about the determined search for God - the primary preoccupation, strangely enough , of those infidel existentialists.

 

NEW CITY REVIEW QUOTE :

Director Pieper balances just the right notes of rawness and loveliness, shock and irony, allowing this provacative play to get under your skin without irritating.