Zygmunt Dyrkacz of Chopin Theatre

Andrew Patner, WFMT 98.7FM

- "Zygmunt Dyrkacz is one of a number of young Poles who have come to Chicago in the years since the Solidarnosc uprising began in 1980 and have worked tirelessly to advance the most sophisticated and challenging Polish and Central European cultural events here.

Since 1990, Dyrkacz has owned and operated the 87-year-old Chopin Theatre at the old ground zero of Polish Chicago at the intersection of Division, Ashland, and Milwaukee in Wicker Park. Making his adaptable spaces available to many young Chicago theatre companies and presenting an astonishing 500 or so events a year (!), Dyrkacz also brings important European avant-garde companies to his venue, something that happens too rarely here since the demise of the International Theatre Festival of Chicago.

Currently Chopin is home to the much-admired Katowice-based Teatr Cogitatur, a troupe that has done a superb job of passing on the techniques and traditions of the Polish avant-garde to a new generation of young Polish theatre artists.

On this, their third annual visit to the Chopin, Cogitatur is presenting an abstract work that has at various times been known as Tribute to the Expressionists and La Luna. Its title, though, is not so important, nor, for that matter is its content (a sort of vodka-intoxicated parallel to Jonathan Larsen's Rent. What matters in this highly-distilled 45-minute performance is the skill and individuality of the stylized and constantly changing stage pictures.

This is disciplined work of a type we do not see enough of even in as theatrically rich a city as Chicago.

La Luna will be joined in repertory this week by another of Cogotatur's signature (and similarly brief) pieces, Aztec Hotel.

And there are still a few places on the street where you can round out your visit with some fresh pierogi and a cold beer".