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Oracle Theatre stages ‘free art’

Oracle Theatre will remount its acclaimed productiBertolt Brecht’s “The Mother”

Oracle Theatre will remount its acclaimed production of Bertolt Brecht’s “The Mother”

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Updated: February 21, 2014 6:16AM

Sometimes the best things in life really ARE free. Consider Oracle Theatre, Chicago’s unique “public access theater company,” where seats are sponsored by the Forty 4, “a growing population of individuals, foundations and local businesses committed to making free art for all.”

To kick off its fourth season (in which it is increasing the number of available reservations from 4,800 to more than 7,000), Oracle, located at 3809 N. Broadway, will remount its acclaimed production of Bertolt Brecht’s “The Mother” (running Jan. 23-March 1).

Directed by Max Truax, Oracle’s artistic director, with an original score by Jonathan Guillen, “The Mother” features Katherine Keberlein reprising her performance in the title role. It tells the story of Pelagea Vlassova, an illiterate widow in Czarist Russia whose only son is embroiled in dangerous political activities. Her desire to protect him draws her deep into a growing labor movement, which ultimately leads her to both catastrophe and triumph in this tale “of how a common cause unites people to overcome any kind of obstacle, be it personal, economic, or political.”

Next in Oracle’s 2014 season are: Ferenc Molnar’s 1929 “The President” (April 12-May 31), a satirical romantic comedy about capitalism and communism, set on the eve of the Great Crash, to be directed by Truax, and Upton Sinclair’s “The Jungle” (July 19-Sept. 6), the classic Chicago meatpacking expose, adapted and directed by Matt Foss.

For reservations (highly recommended), and additional information about how Oracle Theatre operates, visit

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