2013

Remixing Our Town

Posted by: Kristyn Zoe Wilkerson at 10/14/2013 01:00 PM
Remixing Our Town

 “Grand Rapids for me is like the landscape of my imagination,” said playwright Noah Haidle in an interview with Tanya Palmer, the Goodman Theatre’s director of new play development. That imagination completely takes over in every arena of SmokefalI, directed by Ann Kaufman. Taking place in three realms of existence, the play explores the reality of a Midwestern family on the verge of a major transformation.



Pullman Porter Blues

Posted by: Anjelica Velazquez at 09/23/2013 04:00 PM
Pullman Porter Blues

The very powerful Pullman Porter Blues seems to easily express that taking advantage of people for the way they work or who they are is not right. The beginning of the production is amazing and influential; the actor’s singing really shows how they feel. Everyone in the audience could feel their emotions from the stage and they bring it beautifully into the crowd. The pride that Pullman porters take in their work is really articulated by the scenery; and of course, by the actors. The lighting gives the audience cues about who to watch and who is giving an important speech.


History Meets Soul

Posted by: Cheritta Jenkins at 09/23/2013 04:00 PM
History Meets Soul

After seeing Cheryl West’s “Pullman Porter Blues”, the first word that comes to my mind is “soul”. The characters all had a certain pizzazz about them that took what could’ve been a fairly tedious play to an entirely different level.


Composing the Blues

Posted by: Ariel Majewski at 09/23/2013 04:30 PM
Composing the Blues

In an era where the evolution of an African American middle-class society gradually emerged, Pullman Porters continued to experience roaring prejudice and harsh renounce while serving the riders on the Pullman Trains. Director Chuck Smith brilliantly depicted such drama through the eyes of three related generations. Each family member presented endurance, strength, and courage against the “traditional” view of the African American—all musically entwined with their well-renowned, flavorful culture of the blues.


22 Hours

Posted by: Sophia Goethals at 09/23/2013 04:30 PM
22 Hours

For as long as I can remember I have always hated musicals.


Bone Chilling

Posted by: Melody DeRogatis at 09/23/2013 05:00 PM
Bone Chilling

The rich, fascinating, bone-chilling story of the Pullman porter experience begins when the aesthetically arresting train doors magically open by themselves in “Pullman Porter Blues” .Then, we are taken on a confusing, but ultimately satisfying ride through the lives of three generations of Pullman porters, a racist railroad conductor, a drunken singer, and a hopeful homeless woman.


A Broken Family Through Time

Posted by: Amy Hoke at 10/14/2013 05:00 PM
A Broken Family Through Time

Noah Haidle’s “Smokefall” begins as it ends and ends as it begins; the ending is literally built into the beginning, and the ending is revealed to the audience within the first few scenes. The play is incredibly surreal yet it still manages to reveal the astonishingly real and vulnerable side of a family, a side that is evident in every family.


Terribly doleful; simply amazing

Posted by: Daetriana Burks-Reed at 10/14/2013 05:30 PM
Terribly doleful; simply amazing

From characters to set design, Goodman Theatre’s “Smokefall” is doleful yet still great. “Smokefall” has many scenes that make the viewer want to cry and some that make the viewer want to laugh. “Smokefall” is a very emotional play that tugs at your feelings.  Violet’s (Katherine Keberlien) pain is felt. Daniel’s (Eric Slater) depression is wonderfully shown in the actor’s facial expression and mournful voice. The play’s dysfunctional family can relate to so many other families. The fact that this play displays the daily but hidden problems of a broken family makes “Smokefall” sad and loving.


The Ordinary and The Disturbing

Posted by: Anne Amann at 10/14/2013 05:30 PM
The Ordinary and The Disturbing

Noah Haidle’s Smokefall is an absolutely striking production. The intensity of the emotions portrayed onstage tug at the audience’s heartstrings. There are many elements of the show which are symbolic, abstract, or have an extremely deep meaning that is revealed to the astonishment of all watching. The most intriguing aspect of the play, however, is the constant intertwining of the ordinary and the disturbing.


Philosophical, Paradoxical, Eccentric, Captivating.

Posted by: Melissa Oskouie at 10/14/2013 12:00 PM
Philosophical, Paradoxical, Eccentric, Captivating.

Director Anne Kauffman’s philosophical, paradoxical, eccentric, and vehemently captivating production of Smokefall centers on a normal, yet dysfunctional family from Grand Rapids, Michigan, comprising a mother named Violet (Katherine Keberlein)with twins on the way, her formidable but hilarious father seen as the absentminded Colonel (Mike Nussbaum), mute daughter, Beauty (Catherine Combs) whose meals consist of household items and earth, and husband Daniel (Eric Slater) who’s busy with work and disconnected from the rest of them.


Pullman Porter Blues

Posted by: Ashley Smith at 09/23/2013 12:00 PM
Pullman Porter Blues

This emotionally, uplifting, and powerful musical drama leaves you speechless. Uncovering the lives of three generation Pullman Porter workers, whose world completely unfolds when drama reaches its peak.


Smokefall: A Play Like No Other

Posted by: Bertha Mendez at 11/07/2013 01:00 PM
Smokefall: A Play Like No Other

Director Anne Kauffman’s “Smokefall” is a play not like any other. It is a play that will leave you feeling shocked, delighted, slightly confused, yet very much entertained. The play focuses on how one choice can change the course of a person’s life.


A Feeling of Hope for the Future

Posted by: Madeleine Driscoll at 09/23/2013 01:00 PM
A Feeling of Hope for the Future

This past Saturday I went to see the play Pullman Porter Blues at the Goodman Theater. It was written by Cheryl .L West and directed by Chuck Smith.  The play follows a grandfather, a father, and a grandson all working as Pullman Porters on a train from Chicago, IL, to New Orleans, LA.


Reality Without Any Sugar Coating

Posted by: Elizabeth Cruz at 10/22/2013 01:30 PM
Reality Without Any Sugar Coating

Directed by Anne Kauffman, Smokefall is a truly compelling poetic drama. This play is fulfilling to the mind and soul, with exceptional performances delivered by all the members of the cast. Playwright Noah Haidle is brilliant; he will make you feel all the stages of sadness from self-doubt and incompetence to mood swings. Haidle captures a growing family’s troubles. He shows how family troubles are not easily buried and take time to heal.


Reality Without Any Sugar Coating

Posted by: Elizabeth Cruz at 10/14/2013 01:30 PM
Reality Without Any Sugar Coating

Directed by Anne Kauffman, Smokefall is a truly compelling poetic drama. This play is fulfilling to the mind and soul, with exceptional performances delivered by all the members of the cast. Playwright Noah Haidle is brilliant; he will make you feel all the stages of sadness from self-doubt and incompetence to mood swings. Haidle captures a growing family’s troubles. He shows how family troubles are not easily buried and take time to heal.


Enchanted

Posted by: Brigid McKeon at 11/24/2013 04:00 PM
Enchanted

Even if you have seen the Goodman Theater’s A Christmas Carol before, the 36th rendition is well worth a return visit. The classic Charles Dickens tale is enhanced by updated sets and sparkling performances.


Finding Joy

Posted by: Courtney Lilly at 11/24/2013 04:00 PM
Finding Joy

“A Christmas Carol,” by Charles Dickens, is a play about an old man, Ebenezer Scrooge, who finds the joy of Christmas.  Jacob Marley, an old friend of Scrooge who is now deceased, wants Scrooge to change his ways for he is hated by the community. His spirit haunts Scrooge at night and tells him that he will encounter 3 ghosts that take him on a journey to visit the past, relive the present, and discover the future.


It Only Gets Better

Posted by: Jazmin Quinones at 11/24/2013 04:30 PM
It Only Gets Better

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens is a classic story that is repeatedly told to new generations throughout the holiday season.  Goodman Theatre has been producing the play adaptation for many years, and this year has got to be one of the best.


A Timeless, Classic Tale

Posted by: Jennifer Juarez at 11/24/2013 04:30 PM
A Timeless, Classic Tale

The timeless, classic tale, “A Christmas Carol,” shows us the meaning of Christmas, how it’s never too late to change for the better, and hope for a better tomorrow. Henry Wishcamper directs Charles Dickens’ book at Goodman Theatre until December 28th, 2013.


Enchanted, Surprised and Inspired

Posted by: Jesse Osborne at 11/24/2013 04:30 PM
Enchanted, Surprised and Inspired

I have been going to see “A Christmas Carol” at the Goodman ever since I was a little girl. It has always been a special tradition, curling my hair into ringlets and putting on my favorite red velvet dress with white lace around the collar, and going to see the heart-warming holiday tale. Each year I was enchanted, surprised and inspired.



The Time to Give

Posted by: Maya Reese at 11/24/2013 05:00 PM
The Time to Give

Christmas is the time to give without expecting to receive anything in return. The main character of the play Ebenezer Scrooge, played by Larry Yando, learns the importance of family, friends, and giving by being visited from the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future.


Bless evrybdy #TnyTim

Posted by: Maya St. Clair at 11/24/2013 05:00 PM
Bless evrybdy #TnyTim

In this changing world, why do we need A Christmas Carol? Why put on a dated show set in the 1800s when the Theatre could simply tweet “Bless evrybdy #TnyTim”?

The Goodman answers, in resounding terms.


Confusing but Powerful

Posted by: Morgan McFall-Johnsen at 10/14/2013 05:00 PM
Confusing but Powerful

Smokefall, written by Noah Haidle and directed by Anne Kauffman, begins by introducing a seemingly normal family with seemingly normal problems. There's the unhappy and overworked father (Eric Slater), the lonely, fretful mother (Katherine Keberlein), the deteriorating, senile grandfather (Mike Nussbaum), and the daughter who loves them all so dearly she'll sacrifice her own voice (Catherine Combs). Her troubled brothers come later, as does a more relatable, modern nephew. These are all characters with a purpose and they are portrayed beautifully by the actors, kept believable and undeniably human even as things get more and more abstract.


Fantasy and Reality Mix at the Center of Family Conflict

Posted by: Nina Wilson at 10/14/2013 05:00 PM
Fantasy and Reality Mix at the Center of Family Conflict

The Goodman’s Chicago premiere of Noah Haidle’s Smokefall, directed by Anne Kauffman, presents a sometimes funny, sometimes sad, and always original look into a seemingly ordinary Midwestern family. But, like with every family, peeling away the exterior reveals its share of hardships.


A Seemingly Happy Family

Posted by: Taysha Day at 10/14/2013 05:00 PM
A Seemingly Happy Family

“Smokefall” is a heartfelt play surrounding the life of a dysfunctional family in Grand Rapids, Mich. They had a conflict that was not easy to resolve. It showed how Daniel, the father, could not take living in reality with his family and wanted to escape. This caused misery for his family that he left behind.