" Caryl Churchill plays—always intensely verbal, Surrealist and heavy on choreography—can easily become trainwrecks, but GreyZelda’s production of one of her most difficult and strangest remains afloat, often inspiringly and always coherently—no small feat. The success of this "Skriker," a series of nightmarish scenes following a terrifying shapeshifter and her human victims, is due in large part to Lisa Wilson’s brilliant inhabiting of the title character. She remains magnetic and articulate, even as she spouts out verse after verse of Churchill’s sometimes almost incoherent monologues. The other actors keep up, and the show feels fresh in its exploration of gender, horror and dream, not least of all because of its strong interactive element; making audiences squirm in true Brechtian fashion, actors consistently break down the fourth wall in what could otherwise be an estranging production. The set and costumes are a bit uninspired, relying too heavily on tropes from Halloween costumes, but once the lines begin, it hardly matters."
And Now for Something Completely Different ....THE SKRIKER "Caryl Churchill's 1994 play isn't easy going. It follows a "shapeshifter and death portent" bent on stealing the newborn child of teen mother Lily while avoiding the sometimes violent efforts of Lily's mentally-ill friend Josie to protect the baby. The creature says she's out to avenge the underworld, which has been left to wither and starve. But Churchill's multiply fractured narrative and Joycean wordplay communicate only a swirl of potentially provocative ideas that never realize their dramatic potential. Director Rebecca Zellar focuses most of her ensemble's energy on creating an underworld of childlike malevolence--part punk after-hours club, part dyspeptic kindergarten class. But even with a smart, committed cast, this GreyZelda Theatre Group production is comprehensible only in fits and starts." --Justin Hayford
A Note from the Director ... It's a Tomayto/Tomahto type of play ... if you like your theatre easy and don't want to put in any brain work, then this probably isn't the show for you. We don't hand you all of the answers on a platter. When one of the college students on Saturday basically said, "I don't get it. What am I supposed to walk away with? How am I supposed to apply any of this to my life?", I turned the question around on him and asked back, "Well ... what did you get from the images, from your initial instincts and remembrances of the show?" He had a hard time answering. One of our cast members afterwards said, "We should have just asked him if he believed in faeries," which would have been a much better answer. I feel our show is like taking a walk through the Art Institute ... some pieces are pretty easy to figure out, but some take a little bit more of abstract thinking and impulsive thought to begin the process of "figuring it out." That's what The Skriker's like, in my opinion. I've noticed that the reviews we've received so far are pretty split down the middle ... some people embrace the subtleties and humor of Churchill's words; some find it too "Joycean", so ... it's really a taste thing. It's definitely not a walk in the park. Thank goodness.