Yep, it is possible to laugh at Death
|Sideshow Theatre presents|
|Theories of the Sun|
|Written by Kathleen Akerley
Directed by Jonathan L. Green and Megan A. Smith
at Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont (map)
through October 3rd | tickets: $15- $20 | more info
Reviewed by Katy Walsh
Where does Death take a holiday? Apparently, a remote hotel in France! Sideshow Theatre presents the Midwestern premiere of Theories of the Sun. A mother and daughter duo seek medical advice from a quirky doctor. The doctor is in residence at a boutique inn. Also vacationing at the locale are a couple of playwrights, a scotch- infused Tennessee Williams and a frothy-wine sipping Tom Stoppard. Another hotel guest, Mr. Asher, collects theories about the sun from different cultures. Looming invisibly to most of the guests, Death waits for someone. Theories of the Sun is a mysterious gathering of a hodge-podge of characters. Each confronts Death and puts in a special order for preferred exit timing. Despite the primary storyline being the unusual circumstances surrounding the mother and daughter, its boys’ night! Individually and collectively, the guys overshadow with eclipsing humor and vibrant movement. Sideshow Theatre’s Theories of the Sun proves the hypothesis that is possible to laugh at Death.
Directed by Jonathan L. Green and Megan A. Smith, with choreographer Katie Spelman, theories of the sun are illuminated with poetic, fluid motion. The synchronization is the bright spot to the story. A game of blindman’s bluff is an effervescent dance with Death. The ensemble, sporting a variety of accents, is dazzling. Matt Fletcher (Stoppard) delivers his British wit with a droll smugness. Uttering lines like ‘being not in tune,’ Fletcher is hilarious as an insipid playwright caught up in semantics. Andy Luther (Williams) plays it perfectly understated as the southern-speaking, unapologetic drunk. Luther’s face-off with Death is a deliciously defiant monologue of fearlessness that unexpectedly ends in tenderness. Jesse Young (Dr. Giraud) is hysterical as an eccentric doctor conducting a series of odd tests. Young deadpans ludicrous statements for riotous results. The storyteller of sun theories, Dylan Stuckey (Asher) is most engaging when he silently reacts to other characters. The entire cast revolves around Death in stunning visuals in a mime-type ballet and exquisite fifties finery (Costume Designer David Hyman).
Playwright Kathleen Akerley has penned a life-and-death tale with eclectic characters. Although the mother-daughter storyline loses some of its luster from recently being Hollywood-ized, Akerley’s provides intrigue in her other character choices and surprising twists. Theories of the Sun is a thought-provoking, entertaining dance to the death. With the finale’s hindsight, you’ll want to relive it for Death’s subtle entrance.
Running Time: Two hours and thirty minutes includes a thirty minute intermission
Stoppard – Matt Fletcher*
The Proprietor – Andrew Marikis
Dr. Giraud – Jesse Young
The American – Michael Mercier
Williams – Andy Luther
Barbara Sweeny – Susie Griffith
Elizabeth Sweeny – Scottie Caldwell*
Mr. Asher – Dylan Stuckey
Creative and Production Team
Playwright – Kathleen Akerley
Directors – Jonathan L. Green* and Megan A. Smith*
Production Stage Manager – Navid Afshar
Scenic Designer– Eric Luchen
Costume Designer – David Hyman
Lighting Designer – Jordan Kardasz
Sound Designer/Composer– Christopher M. LaPorte*
Choreographer– Katie Spelman
Properties Designer – Angela M. Campos
Technical Director– Kyle Gettelman
Dramaturg – Gina Di Salvo
Dialect Coach – Jamie Abelson
Master Electrician – Fred Uebele
Assistant Stage Manager – Meg Lindsey
Assistant Scenic Designer – Nadia Garofalo
Production Assistant – Emily Darlington Cooke
Producer – Sideshow Theatre Company
FYI: personnel list and links courtesy of Sideshow’s website.
3 WORDS: Always looking for the bright spot in her analytical world, Jasleen describes the show with “out of time.”
WAITING FOR THE SHOW
Conveniently located across from Theater Wit, Coopers, 1232 W. Belmont, offers free parking and, more importantly, nightly specials. My hypothesis is that to survive the recession, restaurants need to give financial incentives to pick their locale. On Thursday night, Coopers offers ½ price pizzas. We go two for one by ordering up the truffle mushroom and the spinach. Both tasty, the truffle mushroom was far superior. My guess is it might have something to do with the slightly burnt crust on the spinach version. My own supposition is we paid for the delicious pizza and got the burnt one for free. With that assumption, I happily head over to experience other theories in life.
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