Monday, November 9, 2015

Review of Chapter Two at Windy City Playhouse

Once upon a time I went to a show and it was called Chapter Two. It was written by Neil Simon and it was directed by Jessica Thebus. It was about a guy named George Schneider (Brian McCaskill)and his wife had just died. And he was really really sad and he thought he would never be able to love anyone ever again. But of course he was wrong. His brother Leo (Peter DeFaria) had tried to set him up with a lot of different girls, but then finally he introduced him to someone who was not entirely insane, Jennie (Amy Rubenstein), and then they fall in love. But of course when you are in love you rush to conclusions way too fast, which is what happens. This play is about love, jumping to conclusions, and being truthful. I thought this was a really fun show. I also saw Barefoot in the Park pretty recently which is written by the same person, and I could tell because of the kind of plot and the style of writing. I love his shows; they are so funny and clever.

The look of the show is very realistic looking. It looked like two apartments (set design by Scott Davis) that had very different styles. George's apartment showed that he was very learned and that he liked old-fashioned things. Jennie's apartment looked very modern and chic. It tells you that they are very different. But there is no wall separating them which shows that there could be a chance for them. Also their costumes (by Melissa Torchia) showed a lot about their relationship. Jennie was always in very sunny, happy-looking outfits. George's outfits were very dignified and he was kind of like a freshly-pressed-suit kind of guy. Leo wasn't dignified or distinguished; he wore mix-matched patterns and larger glasses. I really liked his look; if I was a boy that is what I would wear right now. Some of Faye's outfits showed that she was trying to be all super-sexy and sometimes the effort that she made was just so funny and amazing.

What I found was that Barefoot in the Park is pretty similar to this show, so similar that they might actually be the same characters in the future, just with different names. It seems like Paul might be George and Corie might have been his dead wife Barbara. Jennie is a lot like Corie too in that they are both kind of dippy but Jennie has a job and Corie doesn't. Jennie is older than Corie, so you see a lot of the similarities, but they still are different. George is also very strict to his job like Paul. Both Leo and Victor Velasco are kind of flirts, and they have really big personalities. They are both sweet and don't seem like womanizers at all, but they are. Faye (Amy J. Carle) is kind of like Corie's mother; both of them realize they have to loosen up, but Faye realizes that she has to stay true to her husband while she loosens up because she is not relaxed when she is cheating on her husband. Both plays are about the first few days of marriage and trying to make things better. Both of them are comedies with dark moments. And sometimes the dark moments are dark comedy moments.

Faye and Leo were the comic relief. When you were worried about George and Jennie's relationship, Faye and Leo would make you laugh. The thing is that the other characters are funny too, but not in the same way. Leo and Faye are funny in a more classically comical way, like how they both want to cheat with each other but they are both really bad at it. That is like some classic comedy right there. George and Jennie kind of have a how-stupid-the-thing-they-are-fighting-about-is kind of comedy, which is a darker comedy because it isn't like slip-on-a-banana-peel comedy. Faye and Leo are more like that because they keep getting caught at cheating by the same person and it is more ridiculous and less actual-real-life-problems comedy. I loved how they kept getting caught and they would just have this moment where they would all see each other and then Faye and George would make up silly excuses that were just so insane. It made me laugh. It was how they said them that was so funny.

People who would like this show are people who like Barefoot in the Park, hilarious cheating, and mix-matched clothes and relationships. I think people should go see this show. It is funny and has a very intriguing plot. I really liked it.

Photos:Michael Brosilow

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