Party on, Dude!
|Mary-Arrchie Theatre presents|
|Cherrywood: The Modern Day Comparable|
|Written by Kirk Lynn
Directed by David Cromer
at Angel Island Theatre, 735 W. Sheridan (map)
through August 8th | tickets: $13-$22 | more info
reviewed by Katy Walsh
Fliers announce ‘Party Tonite for anyone who wants a change.’ Mary-Arrchie Theatre presents the Midwest premiere of Cherrywood: The Modern Day Comparable. A foursome decides to host a party. They have three kinds of chips, an array of music, bottles of booze and a shots of… milk? In response to their fliers, the guests arrive and fill up the house. The usual party suspects are all present. Free loading crashers. Whiny girl. Depressed divorced guy. Unwanted neighbor. Gaggle of gals in bathroom line. P.D.A. couple on the dance floor. Hot shirtless guy. Person continually announcing ‘I’m wasted.’ Sporadic drunken wrestling. It feels, looks and sounds familiar except with a couple of twists: Somebody brought a gun. Everybody has been drinking wild wolves’ milk. People are opening boxes of their secret desires. Cherrywood: The Modern Day Comparable is a virtual reality party experience without the pressure to mingle or the aid of a cocktail.
In a large living-room-like space, the audience seats encircle the action. Closely matched in numbers, the 50+ wallflowers watch the 49 performers party. It’s such a tight fit that I needed to move my purse before a guy sat on it. Director David Cromer has gone fire-code-capacity to create an authentic party.
The proximity blurs the fourth wall completely in deciphering between the party gawkers versus goers. I consciously refrain from shouting out an answer to ‘name a good band that starts with the letter ‘A’.’ It seems like a jumbling of improv mixed in with scripted lines. Crediting playwright Kirk Lynn with some of the best lines, it’s existentialism goes rave with the ongoing philosophy ‘if you want something different, ask for it.’ Lynn writes dialogue describing cocktail banter as ‘question-answer-it-doesn’t-always-happen-like-that’ mockery. One character describes herself with ‘everything I do is a form of nodding. I want to break my neck to stop nodding.’ In a heated exchange, the neighbor jabs, ‘you remember the world? It’s the room outside the door.’ It’s genuine party chatter. Some conversations are playful. Some are deep. Some just don’t make any sense. Clusters of people are sharing philosophical drunken babble throughout the room. A gunshot brings the house of strangers together in a communal bonding alliance.
For the theatre goer looking for a break from classic plot driven shows, Cherrywood: The Modern Day Comparable is performance art. It is a ‘Party Tonite for anyone who wants a change.’ For those who wonder what Chicago actors and designers do off-season, this is an opportunity to fly-on-the-wall it. If you’ve anticipated they hang out together and party, this would be your imagined drunken haze. The who’s who of storefront theater is boozing it up. It’s a Steep, Lifeline, Dog & Pony, House, Griffin, etc. reunion bash, and man do they know how to party!
Running Time: Ninety minutes with no intermission
Cherrywood: The Modern Day Comparable is written by Kirk Lynn and directed by David Cromer and features Mary-Arrchie Theatre company members Richard Cotovsky, Carlo Lorenzo Garcia, Shannon Clausen, Gavin Robinson, Michele Gorman and Dereck Garner with special guest artists: Adam Hinkle, AIleen May, Alexander Ring, Alice Wedoff, Allison Cain, Andre LaSalle, Andrew Hanback, Anthony Demarco, Briana De Giulio, Bries Vannon, Candice Gregg, Caroline Neff, Chris Ward Blumer, Colleen Miller, Craig Cunningham, D’wayne Taylor, Derek Brummet, Ebony Wimbs, Eileen Montelione, Elliot Ivins, Geoff Button, Brian Hinkle, Jennifer Santanello, Jeremy Noll, Joseph DeBettencourt, Kasia Januszewski, Katherine Schwartz, Keely Brennan, Kevin V Smith, Leslie Frame, Lindsey Barlag, Lindsey Pearlman, Marika Engelhardt, Michael Dice, Molly Reynolds, Nick Mikula, Noah Simon, Ramon Madrid, Raymond Shoemaker, Rob Fenton, Rudy Galvan, Ryan Bourque, and Ryan Martin.
Designers include Andre LaSalle (set), David Hyman (costumes), Cameron Zetty (lighting design), Nic Jones (asst. lighting design) David Woolley (violence), Carlo Lorenzo Garcia (sound design), Katherine Greenleaf (props), Colleen Elizabeth Miller (special FX makeup), CoCo Ree Lemery (paint charge), Mary Rose O’Connor (stage mgmt.), Christina Dougherty (asst. stage mgmt.), Josh Altman (asst. direction), Layne Manzer (production mgmt.)