Floorlights point upwards on actors as they parade around on stage - their faces painted a ghastly white and accented by dark and dramatic facial lines. The uplighting reminds us of horror stories told around campfires or sleepovers as the storyteller holds a flashlight under their face for a terrifying effect.
All this combined with a grim reflection of society, THE DECKCHAIRS OR MAKE THE TITANIC GREAT AGAIN is meant to be scare us into paying attention.
The Conspirators Go Down with the Ship
Climb aboard the HMS Titanic as it sets sail across the ocean with its motley crew of exaggerated characters. For the broke gazillionaire DJ Drumpf, the sailing of the Titanic is the epitome of being rich. He sneaks aboard and weasels his way into first class.
When disaster strikes in the form of an iceberg, who is right there to cry fake news? None other than Drumpf himself who convinces the rest of the ship to name him captain of this supposedly not sinking ship. Under his “leadership” will Drumpf make the Titanic great again? Or are some doomed to go down with the ship?
THE DECKCHAIRS is an explosion of sights, sounds, and political ideas. The Conspirators create this political satire in a neo-commedia punk style. It’s is a mix of commedia dell’arte combined with neo-futurism, a sprinkle of Brechtian influence, and just a dash of surrealism.
It’s in your face and makes sure you’re paying attention with strobe lights flashing and snare drum beats punctuating actors’ lines. They perform original songs as well as the iconic theme, “My Heart Will Go On” sung dramatically by Madison Boan and accompanied by a hilariously bad recorder.
There are Russian generals, a play within a play, a free market system, even a nod to Bernie Sanders - all framed in the sinking of the Titanic.
Not the Romantic Love Story
THE DECKCHAIRS couldn’t have been based on a more fitting real-life tragedy. As the Titanic's hull sinks further and further into the ocean, it’s not looking good for third class passengers and anyone else aboard who isn’t on Drumpf’s side. The situation becomes less distant and we feel we’re face to face with our current political state. It’s a plea for the audience to not ignore what is happening around them.
This type of theatre might not be for everyone. If you’re used to more traditional theatre, the nature of this kind of work might feel abrasive. Though there are funny moments, THE DECKCHAIRS mostly stands on dark humor. THE DECKCHAIRS especially might not be for those who are looking for a feel good comedy. It would be a good fit for those who love political theatre and anyone who isn’t a fan of our current president.
Note: This is now added to the Picture this Post round up of BEST PLAYS IN CHICAGO, where it will remain until the end of the run. Click here to read – Top Picks for Theater in Chicago NOW – Chicago Plays PICTURE THIS POST Loves.
Now through June 30th
Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays at 8PM
The Greenhouse Theater
2257 N. Lincoln Ave.
Chicago, IL 60614
Tickets can be purchased by calling the box office at 773-404-7336 or by visiting the Greenhouse Theater website
About the Author
Alexis is a theater reviewer, travel bug, media specialist, and burger & beer enthusiast. During the day she works in the advertising business as a senior communications designer. When night falls, or when she can escape to New York, she’s hitting the theaters to see as many shows as she can. And whenever she’s not at her desk or in the audience, she’s out seeking the best burger and beer offerings in Chicago.
Editor's Note: Click here to read more Picture this Post articles by Alexis Bugajski