One Day the Hodja | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

One Day the Hodja 

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The Hodja is Turkey's variation on the archetypal trickster--and in this Tireswing Theatre children's show, he "borrows" donkeys, sweet-talks his way out of debt, and wins the sultan's approval by besting a French visitor in a contest of wits. Adapter-director Andrew Lines also depicts the Hodja as a father shamed by his daughter's decision to venture out on her own rather than marry: the play imparts an Americanized feminist message but never strays far from the traditional idea that family is what makes us strong. Over the show's 90 minutes, children are introduced to Middle Eastern culture and faith through dancing, prayer, puppetry, and colorful costumes. But One Day the Hodja doesn't yet offer entertaining theater: it needs tighter pacing, greater energy, and better acting. Through 10/24: Wed 10 AM, Sat 11 AM and 2 PM, Sun 11 AM. Mercury Theater, 3745 N. Southport, 773-325-1700. $10-$15.

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