Chess, circus, and the game of life

Here is a riddle for you: What do a game of chess and life have in common?*

Inside the tidy, rule-driven universe of a chess board, seven-year-old Alice stumbles upon the inexplicable and absurd rules of a new world. Every fledgling chess player will empathize as Alice is met with surprise after surprise in this lively production of Lookinglass Alice (returning to Lookingglass Theater in association with the Actors Gymnasium after a seven-year hiatus). She meets a clumsy Knight who preens and collides, a frantic rabbit with time-management issues, a talking cat who spouts the most absurd idioms, and two imperiously distracted queens, to name a few of the amusing characters in this classic play, which weds physical theater with the mathematical plot to Lewis Carroll’s less-known sequel to Alice in Wonderland

Looking glass Alice
Through 7/31: Wed-Thu 7 PM, Fri 7:30 PM, Sat-Sun 2 and 7:30 PM; also Tue 5/24, 6/7, 6/21, 7/5, and 7/19, 7 PM; Thu 5/19, 5/26, 6/2, 6/16, 6/30, 7/14, and 7/28, 1:30 PM; Lookingglass Theater, 821 N. Michigan, 312-337-0665, lookingglasstheatre.org, $60-$80.

Lookinglass Alice is as alive physically as it is verbally, flawlessly blending puns and riddles with tumbling and tricks. Circus and the works of Lewis Carroll are a good match, as both share a love of flipping expectations on their heads. And yet, Lookingglass Theater accomplishes what many in the circus world have often attempted and failed to do: to fluidly blend movement and spoken word, serving powerful metaphors with a one-two punch.

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