The Bart of Avon | The Reader's Guide Feature | Chicago Reader

The Bart of Avon 

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Actor Rick Miller says he's changed his one-man farce, MacHomer: The Simpsons Do Macbeth, since Reader critic Jack Helbig wrote about it three years ago. Helbig was enthusiastic, noting that the show, which Miller had developed at fringe festivals, "combines Miller's two loves, Shakespeare and silliness: his somewhat shortened adaptation transforms the dark, murder-filled Scottish tragedy into an episode of The Simpsons. Homer is the ambition-driven Macbeth, Marge his unscrupulous wife, Ned Flanders is Banquo, Mr. Burns is Duncan, and so on. What makes the parody truly delightful, however, is watching the rubber-faced Miller play all the parts, one minute grumbling like Marge, the next leering like Krusty the Clown, the next doing a killing Troy McClure." According to Helbig, Miller is such a "phenomenal impressionist," and performs with such "energy, relish, and precision," that the show "would work just as well stripped to its bare essentials: Miller, a microphone, and the ten thousand characters that swim through his head." But it sounds like Miller's taken it in the opposite direction. "I've been set free from the microphone," he says. "It's staged now, it's multimedia, it's bigger." When Miller's not doing straight theater back home in Canada or around the globe, he's been touring MacHomer at major venues such as Washington's Kennedy Center (where it had a sold-out two-week run) and he says the changes are designed to make it work for larger audiences. It's hard to appreciate facial expressions in an 800-seat theater, so he's now using a live video feed that throws the rubber face up on a screen behind him. We'll get our first chance to see if we should be having a cow over that this weekend when MacHomer plays the Raue Center for the Arts at 7:30 Friday and Saturday, September 13 and 14, at 26 N. Williams in Crystal Lake. Tickets are $22 and $27; call 815-356-9212.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Michael Cooper.

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