Thursday, November 12, 2009

1985 featured in today's Sun Times

From today's Quick Hits column by Elliott Harris

The closest Quick Hits generally gets to culture is occasionally having a bit of yogurt.

When it comes to being a theater buff, Quick Hits thought the term had something to do with ''Oh! Calcutta!''

So attending a play is somewhat unusual -- although, in this case, it was sports-related.

''1985'' is a takeoff of George Orwell's novel 1984 -- with George Halas as Big Brother. The comedy -- which premieres Friday at 8 p.m. at the Factory Theater, 3502 N. Elston -- takes a look at what it means to be a Bears fan. The play is written by Chas Vrba, who also portrays the central figure of Winston. It's directed by Eric Roach.

After viewing a preview performance, Quick Hits wondered: Why no Honey Bears in the cast?

''That's a very good question,'' said Vrba, who started writing the play when the Bears were celebrating the 20th anniversary of their 1985 Super Bowl season. ''We had a launch party to raise funds for the show. A number of the women in the company did go in full cheerleader regalia. It basically was fantasy brought to life. Maybe we could have them in the box office selling tickets.''

His inspiration for writing the play?

''A love for the Chicago Bears and for literature, specifically 1984. I thought it would be really cool if I could get fans of literature and sports in the same room together 'cause most of my peers tend to like one or the other. There are exceptions. I'm working with a great theater company with a lot of great sports fans.''

Cast members tackle their roles like All-Pros.

''I think there's a little Winston in all of us,'' Vrba said. ''I'm an everyman character guy, and in that way I think Winston is that.''

Everyman and every fan.

Anyone who enjoys the Bears (and to a lesser degree the Cubs) and/or enjoys making fun of anguished fans and/or enjoys plays should enjoy ''1985.''

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