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DATES:
06.02.05 - 06.26.05



LOCATION:
Breadline Theatre
1802 W Berenice Ave
Chicago, IL 60613

TICKETS: $14.00

Chicago’s newest theatre company, Big Picture Group, presents .duck, freely adapted from Henrik Ibsen’s The Wild Duck. .duck documents the struggles of a family torn between the comforts of self-delusion and a fanatic’s mission to hold the mirror up to their “life lie.” Exposition becomes the jump cut and the photographic image becomes virtual reality in this adaptation, set in the media-saturated, fashion-frenzied world of postmodern America.
Using video and digital technology to create a metaphoric landscape for the drama, and radically restructuring the original play, .duck promises to re-situate Ibsen while remaining true to his own provocative spirt.

CAST and CREW

directed by:
Roger Bechtel
costume design by:
Marcia K. McDonald
lighting design by:
Margaret Hartman
sound design by
Allan Aquino
video by:
Andrew Schneider
 
assistant director:
Stephanie Grady
stage manager:
Amanda Johnson
assist. stage manager:
Emily Monteagudo
   
   
Gregers:
Andrew Schneider
Hjalmar:
Kenneth Pierce
Hedwig:
Amber Robinson
Gina:
Sally Bell
Ekdal:
Tony Lopez
Werle:
Matt Erickson
Mrs. Sorby:
Simone Roos
Relling:
Allan Aquino
Molvik:
Nick Simon
Peterson:
Erin Liston
Jensen:
Tim Dunn
Newlyweds:
Tim Dunn, Emily Monteagudo
   

NOTES

Chicago’s newest theatre company, Big Picture Group, presents .duck, freely adapted from Henrik Ibsen’s The Wild Duck. .duck documents the struggles of a family torn between the comforts of self-delusion and a fanatic’s mission to hold the mirror up to their “life lie.” Exposition becomes the jump cut and the photographic image becomes virtual reality in this adaptation, set in the media-saturated, fashion-frenzied world of postmodern America.

.duck stars Ken Pierce as Hjalmar and Andrew Schneider as Gregers, the moral fanatic who destroys Hjalmar in order to save him. Also starring are Sally Bell as Hjalmar’s wife Gina, and Amber Robinson as Hedwig, their young daughter who suffers the direst effect of Gregers’s moralism.

Rounding out the cast are Tony Lopez as Hjalmar’s hapless father, and as his ex-business partner and nemesis Werle, Matt Erickson. Simone Roos is Werle’s mistress, Mrs. Sorby, and Allan Quioit is Relling, the friend who attempts to stop the inevitable. Others in the cast include Erin Liston and Nick Simon.

Using video and digital technology to create a metaphoric landscape for the drama, and radically restructuring the original play, .duck promises to re-situate Ibsen while remaining true to his own provocative spirt.

Roger Bechtel, director of graduate studies at Miami University of Ohio, will direct the production. The production team includes Tony-nominated costume designer Marcia McDonald, New York video artist Andrew Schneider, and Chicago lighting designer Margaret Hartman. Amanda Johnson is the production stage manager.

Big Picture Group is a collective of theatre artists who have joined together from Chicago, New York, Minneapolis, Cincinnati, and elsewhere. Bertolt Brecht argued that to understand the complexities of the world, one must learn to see complexly. Yet today, in an age in which our vision is increasingly arrested by commercial media, complex seeing has become vastly more difficult. In response, Big Picture Group uses theatre as a lens through which the often obscure dynamics of contemporary life might be brought into focus. Our mission: to see, differently.

PRODUCTION PHOTOS
PRESS RELEASE
Download Press Release
REVIEWS
-Nina Metz, Chicago Tribune, June 6, 2005

A new company called Big Picture Group has reimagined Ibsen for the digital age with its production of .duck a title that cleverly alludes to our dot-com era. It's an auspicious debut. Director Roger Bechtel has updated the setting, but the story remains unchanged: A tight-knit family — dreamy dad, practical mom and their preteen daughter, who adopts a wild duck — is destroyed when certain betrayals and "life lies" are revealed by a misguided visitor.

Using live black-and-white video of the cast interacting with a flesh-and-blood actor standing before a dark curtain, bookended by a pair of TV screens, the dinner party chatter of the first act sets up much of the back story. This becomes an amusingly discombobulated series of mini-scenes, each delineated by an addictive "thwack, thwack, ping!" sound effect.

The curtain is pulled aside for the rest of the play, during which long-held secrets are slowly peeled back in agonizing detail. All of this takes place in the stark whiteness of the family home.

The video component becomes an added feature, rather than an essential method of communication. But it makes for fascinating moments, particularly when the actors are filmed in close-up during a fraught suppertime conversation. Amber Robinson, as the doomed young girl of the story, has one of the most desperate, puppy-faced expressions you'll see all year. Throughout, the stage manager and crew are in plain view, a visual reminder of the production's technological manipulation.

Who knew artifice could make the tragedy feel all the more unyielding? Finally, here is a theater production that makes a strong case for its multimedia approach.