Saturday, March 10, 2012
"Buzzer" at Pillsbury House Theatre
In the audience the night I attended was a group of high school students. It was really fun to watch them watch the play. They were so present, so in the moment, so reactive to what was happening on stage. I love theater, but perhaps a bit of the magic and wonder wears off when you see as much theater as I do. But for these kids it was all still there. It was refreshing to see. They also had some interesting comments at the post-show discussion. I love post-show discussions at Pillsbury because they always bring in someone from a community group that is working on some of the issues explored in the play. With this piece it's the City of Lakes Community Land Trust, which "provides and fosters stewardship of perpetually affordable homeownership opportunities for low-income and moderate-income families and individuals." It felt like a great community discussion, thoughtfully led by Artistic Associate and actor Kurt Kwan, rather than just a Q&A session with the actors. There were comments from people who live in the neighborhood in which the theater resides (35th and Chicago), and someone who was a victim of gang violence, as well as the aforementioned students. Theater is at it's best when it engages the audience in a conversation about very real issues facing people today, or at least gets you thinking about things in a different way. That's something Pillsbury House Theatre does very well.
Buzzer is playing now through March 18, and all seats are "pay what you can," from $5 to $50, which is a pretty cool thing when theater tickets for the big touring productions go for $100. You'll definitely get your money's worth and more, no matter what you pay!