On Saturday, June 18, 2011, I shot up to Rogers Park and caught an afternoon performance of Lifeline Theatre's stirring, deeply felt mounting of "Watership Down”.
This was my first exposure to "Watership Down", never having read the novel or seen the animated film. We used to read to my stepdaughter from a book of Native American myths as bedtime stories, and it reminded me of that.
They found a way to stage a story that should have been very hard to mount in real time, seeing as how most of the characters are wild animals, mainly rabbits. The actors suggest their bunnie-ness not by costume but by gesture and body movement, and it really works. Tip of the hat to my man Matt Kahler, who played several roles. I particularly had fun with his domesticated bunny, a Biff type who sports the clothes of a suburban preppie and a sheltered grin that proclaims that all is well in this best of all possible worlds.
It's a story about story-telling and myth, in a way. It ain't kid's stuff. Nature is red in tooth and claw. It's a cracking adventure story as well. Well-mounted, Lifeline. You made me want to go read the book.
After the show I had a little look at the amazing sculpture garden next door.