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One more reveiw...

So we've only got two weekends left for It's Only the End of the World. I will be sad when the show is over, it's been a great experience.

We got another good review that I thought you might want to see from the


Highly Recommended

THEATER: It's Only the End of the World


Playwright: Jean-Luc Lagarce. ( Augy Hayter, translator ) . At: TUTA at Chopin Theatre, 1543 W. Division. Phone: 847-217-0691; $22. Runs through: Dec. 22

For the second time, TUTA offers the American premiere of a work by Jean-Luc Lagarce, the innovative French playwright who died of AIDS at 38. Once again, it's a remarkable and challenging event demanding discipline from audiences and artists alike.

Speaking directly to the house, 34-year-old Louis explains matter-of-factly that he's dying and is going to visit his family after a years-long absence to tell them, or at any rate to see what they're like. Louis' mother, sister, brother and sister-in-law ( whom Louis hasn't met ) react in different ways to his unexpected visit. Tension quickly rises between Louis, his sister Suzanne and—especially—his brother Anthony. Louis is essentially passive throughout, demanding nothing from his kin; but they require something from him. The sense surfaces that Louis was a spoiled child who selfishly abandoned his family, and Anthony explodes in anger. As his mother explains, they perceive Louis as having a free and adventurous life denied the rest of them, and they envy and resent it. After a reconciliation of sorts with Anthony, who at least lets it all out, Louis leaves without telling anyone of his impending death.

But It's Only the End of the World isn't as straightforward or linear as that. It's a language-based performance piece built on monologues and spoken arias rather than standard dialogue scenes. One must listen well to its circularities, repetitions, intentional clichés and exceedingly rich rhythms ( the rhythms catch you up ) to understand. And yet Lagarce's many words themselves are simple. His vocabulary is plain-spoken, not intellectual or flowery. Point is, it's not about what happens but how things are perceived. It's about the limits of language itself, the challenge merely to communicate a simple fact, let alone an emotion. As for expressing love or comprehending death and oblivion, well, they're nearly impossible, yet Lagarce and his characters take a stab.

TUTA works wonders with Lagarce's text, written without punctuation or stage directions. On the spacious Chopin stage they've fashioned a visual treat of mesmerizing cloudscapes and an airy facade of a home ( John Dalton, designer ) , within which director Zeljko Djukich achieves intimacy through selective use of close-up video or by staging key monologues close to the audience. But the actors work greater wonders, mining the dense text for perfect sense, humor, emotional complexities and robust subtext. Kay Schmitt ( Mother ) and Jennifer Byers ( Sister-in-Law ) have fine scenes, but more is given to Alice Wedoff ( Suzanne ) and much more to Andy Hager ( Anthony ) and Chris Cantelmi ( Louis ) , who rise to the occasion. Given the most to do, Hager delivers a performance of astonishing variety, emotional force and vocal dexterity. Anthony isn't easy to like, but Hager makes him fascinating to watch and utterly believable.


I love this review because it really gives credit where credit is due and recognizes TUTA member, Andy Hager, as the stand out in the show. It really is a beautiful thing to watch what he has crafted there.

In less happy news, while I still have no idea if I will be cast in our next production, my partner came home last night and pretty much dashed all of my hopes around the topic. Apparently all the company members who are in the show have been told (or at least have received a hint) from our director that they are in, and of course I've heard nothing. It seems unlikely that all the other company members would get notice and that I would not. I wish Z (the director) would just tell me I'm not in. I feel like he's putting off letting me know because I'm still running a show for TUTA and he's scared my current performace will suffer when I get the bad news. What he doesn't seem to understand is that not knowing is as bad or worse that having some closure, and at this point - I'd really like to be able to plan for the beginning of 2008 - but am hanging around for news before I can do so.

Thanks to all of you who were sending energy and prayers for me. I'll let you know when I get the official let down call.


( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
Dec. 12th, 2007 09:09 pm (UTC)
Argh....sorry that you're still waiting to hear from Z. I have been thinking about you, and looking forward to seeing you in 2008. good luck on the rest of the run of your show, and good luck for your 2008 schedule!
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )

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