Tuesday August 22nd 2017

“A Beautiful Spell”

What would you do if you woke up in the middle of the night to find your spouse standing over you and the words you hear from the love of your life is “I don’t love you anymore”? This is the start of a new play written by Greg Kalleres, “A Beautiful Spell”, now onstage at The Royal George Gallery on North Halsted. Are we watching something that many of us fear? Is it possible that nature casts “aA Beautiful Spell” on us that allows us to have special feelings for another? And can that spell be lifted just as quickly as it started? Kalleres explores such a relationship in this 90 minute ( no intermission) very intimate story about Franny ( the adorable Maggie Corbett) and Jim ( a truly realistic character portrayed by Eric Burgher). While they are unsure as to why and how this could happen to them- the “perfect” couple, they communicate their feelings, fears and frustrations hoping that they can get back what they have shared for ten years. After all, they have an investment and a son- how could this possibly happen to them.

Smoothly directed by Ian Streicher, the entire play takes place in their bedroom ( set by Sotirios Livaditis) which is  ver real in appearance, even to the master bath. The lighting(Lindsey Lyddan), sound ( Jeffrey Levin who also did the original music which added to the tension) and costumes ( Emma Casey, who packs a lot of clothing as props) .The problem with The Gallery ( upstairs) at The Royal George, is that it might be more intimate than we would want it to be. We almost feel that we are in their bedroom and that we could become a part of their crazy evening when they begin to discuss and playact at “fantasy sex” as a way of dealing with their situation. This theater is a stage on the floor and risers going up with uncomfortable chairs ( cane back) so I suggest you bring a cushion or 90 minutes will seem to take hours.

While I found the actors to be real, my feelings for  Jim and his situation were far stronger than those for Franny. In the beginning, I found the situation to be very real with some very funny moments. After all, how many times have we thought about our spouse and wondered if this was the life that I wanted 20 years ago? For some people, regrets over the choices they have made can cause their lives to be unhappy. Franny doesn’t know why they have become stale! Jim thinks it’s just night terror! But as the evening progresses, they each pour out their hearts and when the morning comes it is life as usual. We are left wondering if the role playing of the night before solved the problem or if this is something they have done before just to bring a little excitement into their lives. One of the lines that truly stuck in my head was Jim saying “for every solution there is a problem” ( the normal way to say this is the opposite). I am not sure if this is how it was written or just came out, but it is a great line- and very true! This is a world premiere of a new play and I am sure that as time goes on it will improve- the talent is there, but the script needs a little tweaking. We need to know just a little more about the real Jim and Franny!

“A Beautiful Spell” will continue at the Royal George Gallery ( fancy name for a studio) located at  1641 N. Halsted ( just North of North Avenue) through  August 7th with performances Thursdays thru Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 5 p.m.

Tickets range from $15-$25 and can be purchased at The Royal george box office or by calling 312-988-9000 or by visiting www.ticketmaster.com

To find out more about this theater company visit www.rareterratheatre.com

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