I-Fest 2008:

"Best Bets" - Chicago Tribune's Red Eye edition 10/27/08
"Chopin Theatre's international vision grows"- Chicago Sun Times 10/31/08
"..mini UN of experimental theatre" - Kerry Reid, Performink 10/23/08

10/28/08 - 11/09/08

830p Tue, Thu-Sat; 430p Sun

"Chopin Theatre's international vision grows", Hedy Weiss,Chicago Sun Times 10/31/08 - "The Chopin Theatre has made a huge effort in recent years to import some of the more interesting, imaginative and controversial theater productions on the European scene.

Two works are now being showcased in the fourth edition of its I-Fest, and , as producer Zygmunt Dykracz explains, "they represent the growing population of individuals influenced by the new realities of the 21st century - global culture, international migration, mixed marriages and more." Included are:

YASSER,a solo piece by Moroccan-born playwright Abdelkadir Benalis that homes in on a young Palestinian actor who is living and working in Europe, and who is in a state of multilayered chaos as he prepares to play the role of Shylock, the Jewish character at the center of Shakespeare's "The Merchant of Venice". The 60 minute play is performed by William El-gardi, a British-based Sudanese-Egyptian actor.

A Propos of the Wet Snow , - a 90 minute adaptation by Russian-Ukrainian bred Oleg Liptsin (who also stars and directs) of the Dostoevsky classic, "Notes from the Underground". The work, featuring Ai-Cheng Ho as a prostitute, takes the form of the rambling existential "diary" of a retired civil servant in St. Petersburg, Russia - a man whose paranoia and bitterness compels him to act out in self destructive ways that are ultimately his own expression of freedom.

Presented back to back (tickets are $15 for one show or $20 for both), performances run through Nov 9th at the Chopin Theatre".

Dostoevsky’s “Notes” are one of the most famous writings on the irrationality of the human soul. They have been adapted into emotional and physical challenging works dealing with the main problems of modern life: hatred, destruction, intellectual and physical terrorism.

On examples from his own life he demonstrates the paradoxical quality of the human soul – “the territory on which God and devil carry on their battle”. French Taiwanese actress Ai-Cheng Ho will also star.

The monodrama using video projection and technology will be presented by Oleg Liptsin from Ukraine.

"..Mini UN of experimental theater" - Kerry Reid, Performink 10/23/08

Chopin Theatre not only serves as a rental facility for some of the hottest companies in town (the Hypocrites, TUTA, Oobleck), but also provides a rare opportunity to sample solo work from Europe and beyond in I-Fest. This year’s festival includes Yasser by Moroccan-born, Netherlands-residing author Abdelkader Benali, performed by Egyptian-Sudanese-Turkish actor (and current UK resident) William El-Gardi, which traces the conflicts faced by a young Palestinian actor preparing to play Shylock. Russian creator Oleg Liptsin and Taiwanese artist Ai-Cheng Ho will perform A Propos of the Wet Snow, based on Dostoevsky’s “Notes From Underground.” There will be two post-show panel discussions after Wet Snow. On Nov. 2, Liptsin, Gardi and Teunkie van der Slujis will be joined by Columbia College’s Brian Shaw to discuss preparing a one-person show for Edinburgh. A week later, on Nov. 9, the same group will be joined by Chicago journalist and comedian Ray Hanania on a panel called “Shakespeare Meets the Middle East.” The mini-UN of experimental theatre runs Oct. 28-Nov. 9 . A complete schedule is at www.chopintheatre.com.

On Stage - Barbara Vitello, Daily Herald 10/24/08

Chopin Theatre, 1543 W. Division St., Chicago, hosts I-Fest 2008 from Thursday, Oct. 28 to Nov. 9. The mini-festival showcases solo performers from around the world. This incarnation features Oleg Liptsin's take on Fyodor Dostoevsky's "Notes from the Underground" and William El-Gardi performing "Yasser," Abdelkader Banali's monologue about a Palestinian actor preparing to play Shakespeare's Shylock, who's conflicted about his identity and the role he is to play.

Feodor Dostoevsky

Oleg Liptsin

Oleg Liptsin and Ai-Cheng Ho

Kevin Quennesson (Video Art Programming)

Tags: Festival, Old Europe, 2008