Highly Recommended**** American Blues Theater ( better known as ABT), in its “Legends and Legacies” season is now presenting the world premiere of Christina Gorman’s “American Myth” exploring what happens when a beloved college professor/author is exposed by a former student as a liar and a fraud. Gorman further explores the difference between personal and professional ethics in this finely directed ( Steve Scott uses the small stage in the Studio at The Greenhouse Theater Center to perfection) two act play. I will say that , at least for me, this play could be stringer if it were trimmed a bit and ran without an intermission, say 90-100 minutes.
The cast is made up of five very strong actors with Mick Weber taking on the role of Douglas Graham, the professor/author and the delightful Cheryl Graeff as his beloved Lanie. The student, who has become the writer,Peter Finnerty is deftly played by Jordan Brodess and his supervisor/editor by Steve Key. Henry BeeBee , the head of the History department at the university is well played by the always reliable Terry Hamilton. Under the spirited direction of Scott, the story unfolds with us observing some of the tall tales during a book interview and then the writer opting to fully disclose that what he found was untrue.
The questions that arise are; did the fabrications have any bearing on the ability of the scholar to teach; what was the purpose of digging into the past and the “facts” of the interview?. I listened very closely to see if there was indeed a vendetta by the student, but did not grasp anything that would have or could have caused this to be an act of revenge, so why does he do what he does? The other question is about the scholar. His head is full of facts and while he knows a great deal, perhaps his life is emptier than he would have wanted it to be. His “feats” were not worth mentioning as his life was bland, so by creating a history of his own for him, he becomes more interesting. This , in fact, is something that many people do. If not in discussions, on their resumes or if they join a dating service, certainly on their videos. In fact, probably everyone has some of this in their past, but, as a scholar and teacher having these things discovered brings your credibility down and in this case, the school feels that they can no longer consider you the valued scholar that you were. Doesn’t seem fair, but life is not always fair. It is hard to set the bar for your students if they are not sure who you really are or what you stand for.
I am sure that every one of us who sees this play will walk away with a different feeling, but it is well done and worth the trip to Lincoln Park. “American Myth” will continue through April 6th with performances as follows:
Thursdays and Fridays at 7:30 p.m.
Saturdays at 3:30 and 7:30 p.m.
Sundays at 2:30 p.m.
Tickets range from $29-$39 , a bargain for theater of this quality, and can be purchased at the box office, by phone at 773-404-7336 or online at www.americanbluestheater.com
The Greenhouse Theater Center is located at 2257 N. Lincoln Avenue. This production is in the studio on the main level, very intimate with open seating. The stage is small with a wonderful set by Grant Sabin ( very comfy looking), wonderful lighting (Gina Patterson) and crystal clear sound (Victoria Delorio). The final pieces of the production, the costumes ( Rachel Lambert) and props (Adrianna Soloway) make every part fit to perfection.
To see what others are saying, visit www.theatreinchicago.com, go to Review Round-up and click at “American Myth”