Highly recommended **** About Face Theatre is on a roll. They just enjoyed great success with “Le Switch”, a World Premiere,and are now presenting a Chicago Premiere, “after all the terrible things I do” a startling two person story that takes us down the paths for two individuals who seek both a second chance and forgiveness for the deeds they have done. This one-hour-forty-minutes of solid drama tells us the story of Daniel (deftly handled by Colin Sphar), who comes back to the town he grew up in to find himself, work on his novel, and get his opportunity for a second chance in life.
The play starts out in the bookstore ( a wonderful set designed by Chelsea M. Warren, that leaves no detail out) that is owned by Linda (a strong performance by Chicago favorite Lisa Tejero). She is a strong woman, who as we learn, lost both her husband and her son Isaac. As the story progresses, and Linda examines Daniels personal life, learning that he is Gay and that he knew her son, we learn that despite her wanting to admit to same, Isaac was Gay and in the end took his own life. We also learn that Daniel did know Isaac and although he was older, had some connection when he was 9 years old.
Daniel moved away to Chicago and lost touch with the town where he grew up, but as a child, his mother had always brought him to Linda’s store where he began his love of books. The playwright, A. Rey Pamatmat, takes us deep into the inner thoughts of both of these people, who are living with guilt for the things they have done and the people they have hurt along the way. When Linda starts to read Daniel’s book, she learns a great deal about the relationship that caused him to come back to her town- the escape from his own reality.
As the scenes progress under the solid direction of Andrew Volkoff, we not only learn about each of the characters, we learn more about when and how a young man realizes that he is in fact different from the others in his life. This is a topic that is heard all over and has been for years and years. Often, in the old days, not openly discussed, in today’s world, it is on television, radio, movies and of course, theater. Homosexuals come in different colors, shapes and sizes. They have different backgrounds and despite what many think, are not all in the arts. Many powerful athletes are also Gay. This story shows how Daniel feels about his true love, who is far more “Gay” than he is, which bothers him. Linda feels that her actions and reactions to her son’s choices may have been the reason for his suicide. These are very painful and powerful weights to carry. What we see in Pamatmat’s story is how they adjust and learn from one another allowing them to both get that second chance that they need so desperately. The power of Sphar and TeJero truly is worth the price of the ticket.
“after all the terrible things I do” will continue at Theater Wit (Theater Three) located at 1229 West Belmont in Chicago through April 10th with performances as follows:
Fridays 7:30 p.m.
Saturdays 3 and 7:30 p.m.
Sundays 3 p.m.
Tickets are $35 (open seating) ($20 students and seniors) and can be purchased at the box office, by calling 773-975-8150 or online at www.aboutfacetheatre.org (now celebrating 20 years of bringing quality story-telling to Chicago)
To see what others are saying, visit www.theatreinchicago.com, go to Review Round-Up and click at ” after all the terrible things I do”