Tuesday August 22nd 2017


Choices! We are all faced with difficult choices as we travel through life, and as we think back, we see that those we made may have changed the course of our lives. In David Alex’s, somewhat autobiographical “Adrift”, now on stage at The Greenhouse Theater Center Upstairs Studio, we find that Isaac Abbas( a powerful performance by Colin Henry Fewell)a math teacher, who feels that he is the total devoted son searches for answers on ” how can I forgive myself for the choice I made” question. The play, a short 80 some minutes captures the pure essence of Isaac as a child, a teen and an adult teacher as he enters a new school. His father, Jack ( deftly handled by James Eldrenkamp, he of the raspy voiced macho man) a naval officer, who suffered from post-traumatic stress after being booted out of the Navy, weighs heavily on his mind. From the very start of the story, I felt that what we were seeing was the ghost of his father , although a few of the scenes confused me, but at the end, I realized that these were flashbacks, and it was in fact the haunting memories that allowed us to see Jack.

Directed by Maggie Speer with just the right touches for us to feel the relationships between fathers and sons, the play moves at a nice pace on a marvelous set by Dennis Mae, allowing the action to move from school, to Isaac’s home and to the home of the other father and son who also undergo a keen change in their relationship.Judd Benz ( Gary Murphy) is the principal at the school where Isaac has been employed and his son Tom ( Eric Ryan Swanson brings a great deal of strength to this teen who is confused about his relationship as well) is his student. What this story does is examine the relationship between father and son- how they grow apart and back, how the father teaches the son and later it becomes reversed. It is also about truth, loyalty, honor and above all accountability. We are ultimately responsible for the choices we make. There are several references to lines quoted from “The Ancient Mariner” regarding an albatross hanging on each of us and what we can do to ease the tension of same.

As we watch and listen to these two sets of fathers and sons, we begin to search in our own minds our own relationships with our own father or son or in many cases , both. We never get the entire story about Jack and what caused his Post Traumatic Stress, other than his not being able to save his ship during a battle, but we are reminded of all the stories we hear as our soldiers come back from the current battles and wars we are involved in, so it gives pause for our consideration into a problem that does not reach out to all of us in our own experiences, but does exist for many. Jenna Moran’s sound is profound in both the roar of the ocean and the music interludes and Jake Bray’s lighting is mood setting to perfection.

Anyone who knows Alex knows that math is a major part of his life and there is no question that Isaac is modeled after him.Speer even made sure that Fewell looked like him to complete the picture. This is a solid production, but knowing how Alex works, I am pretty sure he will go another step in the future, redefining some of the spots that need a touch up, but overall, this is a play that should be seen, not just by fathers and sons, but mothers and daughters as well. Despite Isaac’s own situation, he is able to draw out Tom and his father and see them reconcile their differences,only to find that his life becomes affected by doing so. “Adrift” will continue at The Greenhouse Theater Center located at 2257 N. Lincoln Avenue through August 26th with performances as follows:

Thursdays,Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 2:30 p.m.

Ticket prices are a mere $20, with a special $12 rate for seniors, students and those in the industry. To order your tickets call the box office at 773-404-7336 or online www.greenhousetheater.org

There is FREE parking available at the former Children’s Memorial Hospital Lot, 2316 N. Lincoln Ave ( about a block north) Limited spaces and some street parking metered and non.

This is a production of Polarity Ensemble Theatre in association with Azusa Productions                 

To see more, visit www.theatreinchicago.com  go to review round-up and click on “Adrift”

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