Thursday, January 31, 2013

Review of Pygmalion (Stage Left and Boho Theatres)

Once upon a time I went to a show and it was called Pygmalion and it was by George Bernard Shaw and directed by Vance Smith. It was about a girl named Eliza Doolittle (Mouzam Makkar) who was a flower girl, and a man named Henry Higgins (Steve O'Connell) decided to make her into a duchess. He teaches her many things that make her seem like a duchess like dressing her in fancy clothes, making her speak very clearly, and changing her mind by making her obey men all the time. I think it can be a good idea to help somebody change, but not to just make them change. Like if they are too obsessed about how they look or something (you should care about how you look but not so much that you have to look as pretty as possible every day), so you could tell them a nice way of saying that and then they might change because it could be for their own good. Professor Higgins thinks he is helping Eliza for her own good but he isn't.

I thought the scene where Eliza was at Henry Higgins' mother's (Lisa Herceg) house was interesting and funny. I thought one of the funny things in the scene was when Clara Eynsford-Hill (Rebecca Mauldin) was influenced by Eliza because she said an old-fashioned bad word, which was bloody, which is not bad at all anymore. People wouldn't even call it a swear word. Clara says "Such bloody nonsense" and runs out of the room squealing. The scene shows us that Henry Higgins swears a lot and that he is influencing young ladies who are not supposed to say those words. Higgins goes to his mother's house to see if Miss Eliza Doolittle is presentable because his mother is so refined. Eliza is not presentable because she says bloody and stuff that young ladies should not say in that time. The actual effect is that Eliza gets two admirers, Freddie (Charles Riffenburg) and Clara because they think her style is like the new thing in history.

There was this scene that I thought was very well done because it showed that Colonel Pickering (Sandy Elias) loved Eliza more than Prof. Higgins did--not romantic love but more that he didn't want to throw her out in the street. In this scene Henry Higgins and Colonel Pickering are drunk because they have just been to a lot of parties where there was a lot of wine and they tasted every wine bottle. At one point Eliza says how much Colonel Pickering had helped her but that Henry Higgins had not helped her very much because Henry Higgins actually wasn't very refined. He swore a lot at the table and put his shoes in very strange places. But Pickering was a very good example. He never swore at the table and he always put his shoes in front of a place where he would remember them. Not like Henry Higgins. Pickering treated her like a lady, not like a piece of clay. I used the phrase piece of clay because Pygmalion is based on a Greek mythology and there is a man that falls in love with a statue that he made.

There was scene where Eliza's father, Mr. Doolittle (Mark Pracht), is about to get married. I thought that Mr. Doolittle was funny most of the time because he was so clueless about what was going to happen to his daughter. This was the last scene in the play and it is important because it kind of shows that Higgins kind of falls in love with Eliza at the very end. I think he was kind of trying to be romantic but he didn't really want to do that because he didn't really want to admit that he was in love with Eliza because he said that he was never going to be in love with any woman. I think it wouldn't have been a good idea anyway if he had loved her because he had been so mean to her in the past.

I think one of the only problems with the play was that I think they should have given Freddie a bigger part. The problem was not with the acting but with the writing. Then you could have kind of more understood how he could be in love with Eliza. Because it kind of didn't make sense how he could be in love with Eliza because he had only met her like twice that you see.

I thought that the dialect coach (Lindsay Bartlett) did a very good job with the dialect. I thought all of the accents were really spot on. I think Eliza Doolittle's accent was perfect. It was exactly like I think it should have sounded. The Os sounded more like OW and less like O which I thought was really good.

People who would like this show are people who like Greek mythology, fancy ladies, and people that swear at the dinner table. You should go see this show because it is fun and lovely. It teaches you that women count. They should be able to do what they want and not let men boss them around. It is bloody well done. (Screeeeeech!)

Photos: Johnny Knight

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Review of Bud, Not Buddy at Chicago Children's Theatre

Once upon a time I went to show and it was called Bud, Not Buddy.  It was about a boy whose name was Bud (Travis Turner) and he was living in the Great Depression.  He traveled Michigan looking for his father and he also met lots of different amazing people.  It made me understand how hard it was to live in the Great Depression.  It taught you that somebody doesn't have to be your blood family to be kind of your family.  It made me feel lots of different ways. It was very touching;  I even cried at the end.  But it was also sometimes happy.  Sometimes it makes you feel angry, like when the Amoses lock Bud in the shed full of wasps.  And it also is funny, like when he thinks that dried up spit smells great.  This is my favorite play that I've seen at Chicago Children's Theatre because the other things I have seen there are geared more toward younger children. It is good because it is super true to the book and the book is super amazing.

When you go into the theater you will see there is an amazing set by Courtney O' Neill.  There is this giant slanted slide-like walkway that I thought must have been really hard to make, but I thought it was very interesting, especially when they used the car and it looked like they were going down a big hill. There were actually very realistic looking telephone poles,  The walkway and the telephone poles together makes it look like the stage goes up forever.  I think you want to do that because there are a lot of scenes where Bud is traveling around Michigan.  I think the car was really awesome because they didn't have to use a really real looking car but it still felt realistic because it had headlights that actually blinked and the car actually moved.  It was actually three-dimensional.

The music I thought was very awesome and really beautiful as well.  Some of it was jazzy and some of it was sad.  I thought the scene changing music was cool and also how they put one of the band in the back playing their instrument.  In the back there is a drop that different projections could be on, and, when the scene was changing, someone would stand behind it and play their instrument.  The woman who played Miss Thomas (Genevieve VenJohnson) is actually a singer.  The character is supposed to have an amazing voice that Bud is supposed to listen to while he mops.  It wasn't lip-synching; she was actually singing, and it made it even more beautiful.

There are these little intervals where Bud just says, "Bud Caldwell's Rules and Things to Have a Funner Life and Make a Better Liar out of Yourself."  These are in both the book and the play.  In the book, they just put them in the center of the page and say what I just said and have the rule after that.  In the play, somebody dressed in a fancy outfit and did a voice like a game-show host and said, "Bud Caldwell's Rules and Things to Have a Funner Life and Make a Better Liar out of Yourself."  I think it was a good way to call your attention to it, and also a very funny one as well. It wasn't the same person every time.  And sometimes people came out and were about to say it, and then Bud almost said it, and then he didn't say it, so the woman had to run on again and say it after all.  I thought that was really funny.

It is such a moving play that I am even crying a week later.  It is thinking about how Bud lost his mom (Tracey N. Bonner).  I was moved in the book but wasn't exactly sad.  In the play, it makes you sad because you actually get to see the mother.  I think the scene where she read him the books was very touching because he had such a good mom that would read him books at night until he went to sleep. If you go with your mom it is even more sad, but if you go with someone who isn't your mom you might feel better.  Little kids wouldn't understand it as well as older kids, so you could bring little kids who wouldn't understand it as well and they wouldn't be bawling their eyes out.  It is sometimes a good experience to be sad if it is just on a stage.

I thought the scene in the shed was really exciting.  It was also kind of funny because he thought there was a vampire bat (Brian Grey) on the wall.  Then it turned to scary when he smacked it with a rake and it turns into a wasps' nest.  I thought it would have been better if they had had more people come out with more wasps because  8 wasps can't be a wasps' nest.  I thought the Breathers (Tim Blewitt, Mykele Callicutt, and Andre Teamer) were a very cool addition because they represented his breathing because he could only hear his breathing happening because it was so quiet and so scary.

My favorite scene from the play is the one with Deza Malone (McKenzie Chinn) for two reasons.  One, because she is the only kid girl in the play.  And, two, because it is super funny.  I thought that one of the funny parts of the scene was where Bud said, "I had tried kissing myself on the hand before, but I had never kissed a real live girl with blood running through her."  He was super specific about what a girl actually is and that they have blood running through them.  I liked  that Deza thought washing dishes under the moonlight was romantic.  It showed you that she really liked Bud and she really wanted everything to be romantic with him.  I thought it was so funny and cute.

There was this scene where Lefty Lewis (Cedric Mays) was trying to tempt Bud to come out from the bushes where he was hiding because he wanted to help him.  But Bud did not want his cover blown--metaphorically.  Bud is afraid because he thinks Lefty is a vampire.   He shouldn't be afraid of that; he should be afraid of the police and racist people and racist signs because vampires don't actually exist.   I really wish that the scene with Kim, the granddaughter of Lefty Lewis, where she sang the hilarious song "Mommy Says No" was in the play.  I will sing it for you now.  Ahem. "Mommy says no.  Mommy says no.  I listen. You don't. Wahahahaha. The building falls down.  The building falls down. You get crushed. I don't.  Wahahahaha."  I agree with Bud.  That is the funniest and worst song I have ever heard.  I think everybody would have laughed at it in the play.  She is supposed to bow like a princess, which I think would be pretty hilarious.

There was a scene where they were at a restaurant called The Sweet Pea.  It was a very fancy restaurant.  Bud discovers that the band is like his family now.  He cries for two reasons: one, because he is so happy that he has kind of found his family and, two, because everything is so funny.  He has never been to a restaurant in his entire life, which is insane to me.  But this is during the Great Depression, so, of course.  There are a bunch of people he meets in the band, and I will tell you what kind of family member they are each like. Herman E. Calloway (Cedric Young) is like a lonesome and mean grandpa.  Miss Thomas is like a mother to him.  Steady Eddie (Mykele Callicutt) is like a very nice older brother who wants to teach him everything he knows; he gives him a saxophone.  Doo-Doo Bug (Cedric Mays) is like another brother that is a little bit younger than the older brother because he doesn't have the idea of getting him the saxophone; he has the idea of getting the polish.  Doug the Thug (Kamal Angelo Bolden) is like an ornery uncle to him because he teases him a lot and he also is really nice to him. Dirty Deed (Brian Grey) is like another uncle because he helps a lot to give him his name, which I will talk about in the next paragraph.  Mr. Jimmy (Andre Teamer) I would call kind of a father figure because he sets up how Bud is going to travel with the band.  

One of my favorite scenes was where they gave Bud a band name.  I will tell you the name and you will spot the mistake.  Get out your French dictionaries!  They say, let's give him a name.  He slept in super late so Steady Eddie says, "Why don't we call him Sleepy."  And the piano player, Dirty Deed, says "we should let everybody know how skinny he is. " Doo-Doo Bug says, "Why don't we call him The Bone."  Then the rest of the band says, "That's too plain. " (This is the time you should get out your French dictionary.) The band says, "How do you say bone in French?" And then the Thug says, "I think it is la bone." Have you spotted the mistake yet?  Bone is l'os in French and not la bone!  It shows you that they don't really know how to speak any other language and it is funny.  I really like the name Sleepy La Bone because it sounds like other people in the band's names so then he blends in and is part of the band now.  That shows you that he will stay with the band for a long time, and that is very good because they are an awesome band.

People who would like this show are people who like jazz music, love and family, and Sleepy La Bone. People will like this show because it is funny, touching, and teaches you about history in a really awesome way.

Photos: Charles Osgood

Monday, January 21, 2013

Review of Promethean Theatre Ensemble's Caucasian Chalk Circle

Once upon a time I went to a show and it was called Caucasian Chalk Circle by Bertolt Brecht. It was about a servant named Grusha (Sara Gorsky) who was trapped in a fire and she found Michael, the baby of her mistress (Jennifer Roehm) and she decided to take it as her own. She went to many places with him to keep him safe. She decides to become his mother but the original mother gets angry at her for taking the baby and takes her to court. It is about how a foster mother can be so loving to a child that she treats it like it was her own. It is also about love, hate, concern, anger--it is about lots of different emotions and how people feel when these emotions happen to them and what they do. I thought this show was very touching, funny, and sad. I actually cried. I laughed a lot as well. And I was also terrified about what was going to happen to Michael, Grusha, and all the main characters that you like.

This paragraph is going to be about terrible mothers because Michael's first mother was exactly the opposite of my mom. When the fire was happening, all she cared about was the dresses, and she left the baby behind. It is a horrible thing just to think about your dresses because they are inanimate objects and a baby is a living thing with blood going through it--the opposite of inanimate.

The Prince (Nicole Hand) who started the war pretended that he was the Governor (Tommy Venuti) and the Governor's wife's friend when he wasn't. The Prince is a plain old bad guy because he wants to get Michael who is an adorable, innocent, and sweet baby. Later, the Prince asks the army to make his Nephew (Kate Suffern) a judge, but he isn't a very good judge.

At first Grusha just thought I'll take this baby and find another mother for him. But there's a war going on and there are people after them. And those people are really bad and they want Michael, the baby. She was trying to help Michael survive, so once she saved Michael from one of the bad guys (Alex Mauney), she decided to become his mother. The bad guy wasn't just any old bad guy. He was the weirdest bad guy I have ever seen performed on any stage and one of the funniest too. He was funny because he was so ridiculous and he would do these weird things like look like he was flirting with everyone--even Mr. Blockhead (Aaron Lawson) who was someone he hated very much.

Then when Grusha still has Michael she decides to get married so that people won't talk about her having a child when she was not married because Simon (Josh Nordmark) the guy she is engaged to won't get out of the war any time soon. Her brother (Brendan Hutt), who has the crankiest wife in the world (Anne Korajczyk), lets Grusha stay over and makes the wedding plans. He says, "We have someone! And he's dying! Isn't that great!" And Grusha kind of has a "That's great, but that is also kind of creepy!" look on her face. When she gets married, the guy that she's married to (Tommy Venuti) comes out in his undies and everybody is shocked because he is coming out in his undies and he should at least have some pants on. They are also surprised that he got up because everybody thought he was dying and he couldn't get up. But he happened to not be dying; he was just faking so he didn't have to go to war. So now she was stuck with somebody and the war had just ended.

The war gets out and Simon gets angry at her because he wants to marry her but it seems like she loves somebody else. But she doesn't! She actually doesn't love that guy at all! She still loves Simon but she can't say that Michael isn't hers because there are people that would take Michael away. I thought it was very sad but it was very happy that she loved her child very much but it was also sad because she wanted to go be with Simon but she couldn't without hurting Michael.

After intermission, I thought it was a little bit confusing that they just changed the main character for most of the rest of the play and then they went back to the first main character. The main character in the second act was the judge Azdak (Teddy Lance). He starts out as an outlaw but then he helps the Duke (Addison Heimann) by accident even though he doesn't like the Duke. I think that the character of the judge is very interesting but also a little bit strange because he at first is an outlaw who a judge would usually say, "Take that guy to jail!" So when he is a judge it is basically an outlaw telling outlaws that they have to go to jail. The soldiers told him that he was going to be a judge by knowing that he danced in the streets funnily. And he was also, when he did this, drunk.

One of my favorite scenes I thought was super funny. So, this man walked in with a lady who had a veil over her face (Elissa Newcorn) whose name was Ludovica and she was doing this weird show-off thing with her hips and her shoulders. It was very funny because she was in court but she was still showing off her shoulders and her hips. And then when she went to go and pick up the knife she basically just slammed her butt in the air because she wanted to show off her butt for some reason. Because she is doing that in court when she is supposed to be sad about the crime, the judge just says, "let's go investigate the scene of the crime" when he actually is going there to flirt with Ludovica.

It is Grusha's story at first, then it is Azdak's, and then it is both of them at the same time because he is judging her in court. The servant that you meet in the beginning who is a cook (Natalie June) comes to be a witness with Simon for Grusha to keep her child. I thought that the idea that the judge came up with to find out who was the actual mother was a very bad idea. They put Michael in the center of a circle and pulled on either end of him. It is a bad idea because maybe the best mother was the weakest. They don't find the actual mother, but they do find the one who loves him the most. I won't tell you who that is, even though you might have already guessed it. But the judge's idea isn't actually a bad one in the end because he knows who loves the child most.

I thought the music (composed by Matt Kahler, assisted by Cary Davenport) was really touching and also sometimes it could be cheerful as well. Sometimes it sounded kind of like something you could play for a sad occasion. The music was live and it was many many instruments. Almost everyone in the show had an instrument. And everyone in the show had an instrument if you could their lungs and their voices--except for one person, Michael. He didn't have an instrument for two reasons: 1) he is a puppet and 2) he is under 4 years old. The entire narration (done by Davenport) was singing, and I thought that was very interesting. I think they did that because the singing made you be more absorbed in the story.

People who would like this show are people who like children, romance, and comedy. People should see this show because it is beautiful, the music is very cool, and all the actors are very talented. This play made me feel happy and sad very close to each other.

Photos: Tom McGrath

Monday, January 14, 2013

Review of "I Love Lucy" Live on Stage (Broadway in Chicago)

Once upon a time I went to a show and it was called "I Love Lucy" Live on Stage. It was not like Spiderman: Turn Off the Dark because Spiderman just told the story of Peter Parker, but this was actually like them filming I Love Lucy. So there is a guy that will come out and tell what is going to happen (Ed Cross) and there were even fake ads which I thought was really fun. Most of the show was two episodes of I Love Lucy. I think this show is very funny. This is one you can take your kids to.

When you walk into the lobby you might see two women (Sara Sevigny and Debbie Laumand-Blanc) dressed in old-fashioned clothes. Those women are in the show as audience members. They are walking around in the lobby. Sara Sevigny came into one of the bathrooms and asked one of the women washing their hands, "How does the water come out of the faucet? There's no faucet handle!" because it is one of those new fancy kinds that you just put your hand under it and it senses your hand is there and starts. I was on the other side of the room and at first I just thought "there's a funny weird lady in here." Then I saw her, and I thought, "That's not just any audience member. That's an actress that's playing an audience member." At the very beginning of the show, Sara Sevigny gets up because Ed Kross has just said how pretty her dress was, and she stands up and says, "They're cherries!" in a funny accent. Later she gets asked to come up on stage and do a quiz with an actual audience member. When you have actors as audience members it makes you feel more like an actual part of the show because it makes you feel like an actor even if you are not an actor.

The ads make you feel like you are watching television. But instead of just talking about all the kinds of soap and medicine and stuff like that, they were also doing dance numbers for them. One of the craziest ads that they did was one for Alka Seltzer. This girl (Debbie Laumand-Blanc) came out in a Speedy costume and started to do this crazy dance number with tapping and all of this crazy dancing and I just thought it was amazing.

One of my favorite scenes was where Lucy (Sirena Irwin) was trying to shoot a scene with Ethel (Joanna Daniels) and Fred (Curtis Pettyjohn) and she kept forgetting her lines--sometimes earlier, sometimes later, and one time she was almost at the end of the part before her lines stopped for a little bit and then she messed up her line. It kind of showed what is was actually like to work with Lucille Ball. And it make it seem more like you were seeing something actually being filmed rather than just a play. If an actor in a real play forgets their lines, then they just have to move to the next lines or make up some lines that sound closest to their real lines.

King Katt (Richard Strimer) was a ridiculous dance teacher of Lucy in the show. And I think Ricky (Bill Mendieta) was a little bit jealous of him. When King Katt was talking to Lucy, Ricky got that kind of I-don't-want-you-flirting-with-my-wife face. So when they were doing the actual audition they did this amazing dance number, but when she came back from the eye doctor and she had had her eyes checked and she was blind for awhile she went to dance and she did a horrible job. It was so weird! She was like dancing with other people and instead of going off stage with King Katt she went off the stage with Ricky. I did find the scene overall very funny because she kept almost running out into the audience.

I thought it was really funny when Lucy was doing a song with Ricky where Ricky was supposed to tap a stick to stop the music so he could tell a joke. But she actually kept tapping the stick and telling the jokes. Or when he would tap the stick she would just say the punchline. That showed the personality of her: that she wanted to be even with the other person all the time or have more than the other person all the time. You still like Lucy because she is a funny person and she means well, but she sometimes does the wrong thing. We all are selfish sometimes, so you kind of don't blame her.

I thought it was really funny when Lucy called Ricky on the telephone and said, "is your headache still there?" And he said, "Yeah." And she said, "Maybe you are working too hard." And then a big crash happens in the background from the drums. It was funny because there was crashing and banging happening in the background and he was saying, "I don't know why I have a headache." Of course he knows why he has a headache! He works in a really really noisy place! And he also has a really weird wife!

People who would like this show are people who like old-fashioned ads, crazy dance teachers, and traveling back in time...sort of. I think the show is really funny and Hollywood-like. This show is good for all ages and makes you feel like you are actually watching I Love Lucy being filmed.

Photos: Ed Krieger

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Review of Sugarward at The Side Project

Once upon a time I went to a show and it was called Sugarward by Sean Graney, directed by Geoff Button. This play shows two sides of Sean Graney: his funny side and his scary side. In my experience with Sean Graney's plays, I've only seen his funny plays. I have never seen his scary plays because I have been too afraid to see his scary plays because I didn't know what they'd be like. There were a lot of funny parts in Romeo Juliet and the scary parts I already knew about. You think Sugarward is going to be funny at first, but then it turns into a scary play. I think that was cool because it showed both sides of the actors, the director, and the playwright. The play is about a governor Daniel Parke (John Henry Roberts who is my dad) that wasn't a very good governor but he had good intentions. It is also about stealing, friendship, and sugar.

Sugar is not just sugar in this play. It is very valuable. People use it like people would use money or diamonds. Daniel Parke has a wife, he has several girlfriends, and he has sugar. When you lose sugar you lose everything that you had. I thought sugar was kind of like drugs because it can make you feel sick sometimes. You saw an entire package of sugar that they unwrapped and they just ate off of that. They also had an alcoholic sugar drink (that I suspect was just water or soda) that they drank. The play shows us that sugar is very important by them having all the foods and drinks be made out of sugar. If they lose it, they won't be able to do anything.

The first act was my favorite act because it was the funny act. It had both of my favorite parts of the play in it. One of my favorite parts was the part where Chester (Joel Ewing) came into Parke's house and they were arguing about the seasoning camp that Chester owned. (P.S. A seasoning camp is a place where African people were worked and beaten to death--the terriblest thing I have ever heard a person do.) (P.P.S. That is not the funny part. I am just filling you in on the beginning.) And they had set up dinner at the beginning and Parke yelled "I'll see you in a few hours!" And Chester was like, "Still planning on dinner?" And Parke, said, "Yes. I never break a promise." It was funny because they were yelling at each other but then suddenly they were very nice to each other about having dinner together.

My second favorite part wasn't funny; it was more interesting. It was when Parke was talking to Chester and he said "May I bring a guest?" And Chester said "Sure." And then Parke said "I will bring my adviser," or something along the lines of that, "Mr. Kirby." Then Chester says, "he's your servant." And then Parke still wants to bring him. That tells you that he's friends with his servant even though in that time grown adults are not supposed to be very good friends with servants. It tells us that Parke is a very nice man, but he changes in the second act; he is not as nice a man. I think that my dad did a great job showing the change over the four years.

I thought it was really cool that Joel Ewing played three parts. It was awesome because it gave this great joke to the play which was when Codrington came in for the first time Parke said "are you Mr. Kirby?" and he said, "No. I am Mr. Codrington." And then Parke is like, "You have a similarity around the face." It is funny because it is telling you that both of the characters are being played by the same person. I thought Ewing did a great job playing all three parts.

The second act was more scary than the first act. It was scarier because it had a lot of violence and guns going off and swords and stuff like that. They talked to each other more mean and less polite. Parke had been governor for four years and everybody has turned against him because they thought he would solve all the problems but he didn't. It makes him feel awful about himself but he also feels like he has done something when he hasn't done very much. He got all that he wanted but he made everyone unhappy. He has stopped the seasoning camp, and that's a good thing. He has also done terrible things that nobody likes like taking their land if they don't have a piece of paper and also taking their wives. I feel terrible about Parke's downfall for two reasons: one, because he is played by my dad and two, because he meant to do good but he didn't.

People that would like this show are people that like violence, funny servants, and huge packets of sugar. People should see this show because it is a perfect show to remind you about what it was like when your ancestors were alive. It wasn't as good as it is now. People didn't have control of who their king or queen would be. And people that were servants and slaves were treated terribly. This show is scary, funny, and beautifully designed.

Photos: Scott Dray

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Review of Welcome Home, Jenny Sutter at Next Theatre

Once upon a time I went to a show and it was called Welcome Home, Jenny Sutter by Julie Marie Myatt. The director was Jessica Thebus. It was about a woman who had just been to war named Jenny Sutter (Lily Mojekwu) who had kids and she wanted to get home to them but she didn't want to tell them that she had lost one of her legs. She wanted her children to be safe and not to be scared from her. And she is at this bus stop and she meets a woman named Lou (Jenny Avery) who invites her to stay over at her house for a while. It is about war and giving up things that you love but you need to give up.

The set by Rick and Jackie Penrod I thought was fantastic. The first scene has just a cloth with a cot on stage and that's where the play started--at the hospital at the war. And then to get to the bus stop they just pulled up the curtain and pulled the other stuff away. The bus stop looked just like a bus stop with all the posters of pop stars and for lotion and toothpaste. I also really liked when they were at the hippie camp which used to be a military base. I thought it was really interesting because the roof was made out of sheets and blankets. I thought that the set made it more obvious that they were all poor and they all had to live together in one place or they would not have been able to live at all. It seemed like a kind of campout--like you were going camping.

The first scene at the bus stop I thought was really funny. I thought it was a good way to start a scene that was right after a very sad scene (where we found out that Jenny Sutter had no leg and how she used to want to be a soldier but she didn't want to anymore). It was funny because Hugo (Justin James Farley) was coming in and stamping his foot like he was an insane dog with fleas. He wasn't a dog, and he didn't have fleas, but the bus station had cockroaches and he was walking and some of them got on him and that's why he was stamping his foot. When you first meet Lou she comes in and says, "Won't somebody clean those bathrooms." Hugo stays there and just keeps talking and she is looking at him like, "Go clean those bathrooms." Instead of seeming to care that she doesn't have a real home or that there is a war going on, all that she cares about for the next few minutes is to get those bathrooms clean. He does not get them clean. All he cares about at the moment is getting their destinations so he can write it down on his little chart. It tells us that all the characters feel like they need what they want right away, but they don't get it right away. And sometimes they feel like they don't need it right away but it would have been better to do it at that moment in the long run.

I thought that the speeches that Buddy (Lawrence Grimm) made were a combination of nice and weird, which I like in a speech--a nice weird touch. The ways that they were nice is that he was doing it for this church. And the weird things were the things that he'd talk about, like he talked about his personal things, like his girlfriend and how much he loved her. He kind of brought all of Lou's addictions back and that made her kind of a weird person--but still a nice person. But you can't really blame Buddy for that; he's a nice guy.

When Jenny Sutter came to Lou's house, Lou was trying to be kind and helping her, and Lou had gotten her psychiatrist Cheryl (Hanna Dworkin) to help Jenny forget about the explosion. Donald (Kurt Brocker) had just taken Jenny outside to his truck where she could have a beer. When she came back and Cheryl was trying to help her, she was drunk. I think Cheryl was trying to help her but she also kind of didn't want her to be in the house because she was kind of stressful for everyone there because she was always so unhappy. 

There was this scene that I thought was very interesting where Jenny Sutter is at her welcome home party and Donald pops a balloon and then Jenny Sutter goes into a half-flashback/half-reality where Lou walks in and there is this big explosion and she hurls herself over Lou and that is how she loses her leg. She really lost her leg because she forgot to check somebody for bombs and her leg got blown off by one of the bombs. I don't want to talk about what happened because it is too sad. It makes me feel still sad.

The last scene was at the bus stop again. It was this really touching scene with Lou and Jenny. It was touching because Jenny was crying because Lou had been so nice to her. I thought everything could turn out fine except that she wouldn't have as good a life as she could have had because she lost her leg, but at least she will be home with her children. I think everything is going to turn out fine for Lou unless the police find out that she's the person that's been stealing everything. I think she might go back to Buddy and they might live happily ever after--but it is not very likely. You don't get to see Jenny go home and reunite with her kids because it is kind of like one of those make-your-own-ending books where if you are in a sad mood and you want to be happy, you can choose the happy ending. And if you want to be scared you can choose the scary ending or the sad ending. You get to choose from the happy ending where she gets to go home and see her kids or the sad ending where she goes to a different place and runs away from her kids or the scary ending where the bus blows up.

People that would like this show are people that like scary explosions, nice Lous, and hippie camps. I didn't get to see this show until only a few days before closing, and I already had another play to review, but you might be able to see a different production of Jenny Sutter, or you might get to see a remount. You should definitely see a remount if possible because this is a great play.

Photos: Michael Brosilow