This week's Culture Vultures recommend: 

The Dream of the Burning Boy, 7 Wonders, and Lauren Groff's Arcadia

MICHAEL BROSILOW
  • Michael Brosilow

Doug Albers, artistic director of Bard and Fool Theater Group is fully on board with:

The Dream of the Burning Boy Recently I had the opportunity to see The Dream of the Burning Boy by David West Read. The show, at Profiles Theatre through April 14, is directed by Joe Jahraus. What really impressed me was the way the cast understood the beats of the show. So often I see dramas that are dramas from start to finish, or comedies that are comedies from start to finish. What made this production a must-see for me was the way the cast was able to switch from comedy to drama so seamlessly. They had a complete and total understanding of the story arc and were not afraid to switch from one genre to another because of it. At Bard and Fool, we believe that theater doesn't have to be stuffy or boring—it can be fun! One of the ways to achieve "fun" theater is to follow Jahraus's lead and allow comedic moments into dramatic scripts. Later this spring I am directing Adult Entertainment, a comedy by Elaine May. Watching the work of Mr. Jahraus has caused me to redo my script analysis and I thank him for it.

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Will Hindmarch, freelance writer and designer gets his fill of adventure with:

7 Wonders A lot of my time is spent playing games with friends—board games, video games, story games. We pair our games with beers, cocktails, dinner, whatever. Good times.

Board games are booming, with lots of innovative and captivating new options around. One we keep coming back to is Antoine Bauza's elegant multiplayer masterpiece 7 Wonders. Don't tune out when I tell you this is a game about building civilizations around the 7 Wonders of the Ancient World. It's a clever, unpredictable game for up to seven players, who take their turns simultaneously so no one's left sitting around waiting. Many players get the hang of it in the midst of their first game (then think they've mastered it, then find they're wrong). Swing by Chicagoland Games' Dice Dojo (5550 N. Broadway), Cat and Mouse Game Store (2212 W. Armitage), or Bridgeport Comics and Games (3323 S. Halsted) and tell them you're looking to learn the game. You'll get a lot of play out of that one big box.

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Abby Sheaffer, founding editor in chief of Chicago Literati is immersed in the world of:

Arcadia This is without a doubt my favorite book of 2012. The novel takes its name from the fictional commune where the main character, Bit Stone, grows up with his parents during the late 60s. Lauren Groff's prose is both eloquent and accessible, making it highly readable and engrossing. She really immerses you in the lives of the characters she creates, from the corrupt Handy and his troubled daughter, Helle, to Bit's relationship with his mother and the mysterious old woman who lives in the clearing. Groff writes with conviction and grace, and the world she creates is so mesmerizing that by the time the book is done, you'll be reduced to tears because you don't want it to end. It's a tough task to write nostalgia without being maudlin or melodramatic, but Groff manages to toe the line—an incredibly hard thing to do. I can't recommend this book enough.

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