Thursday November 23rd 2017

” Fifty Words “

Somewhat recommended  Profiles Theatre is a small storefront theater that is known ( for the most part) for bringing new works to Chicago audiences to illuminate the determination and resiliency of the human spirit- to tell stories that  will captivate the viewer and compliment the ensemble members that make up Profiles. This is what they do and over their 22 years, have done so with a flourish. The current production, a Midwest Premiere, “Fifty Words” written by Michael Weller is an intense two character story that deals with a husband and wife who although madly in love lead separate lives. Adam ( the always intense, yet powerful  Darrell W. Cox) is an architect who spends a great deal of time on the road working on his new project.  Jan ( the lovely and strong Katherine Keberlein) was a dancer who became a wife, who became a mother and now has started her own business. On this particular night, their son, Greg, a nine year old is at his first ever sleep-over, allowing Adam and Jan some of the privacy that has been missing from their lives.

Adam works very hard at trying to rekindle the relationship they had before and Jan, wrapped up in her business appears neglectful to his needs. As it turns out, there is far more to what is happening in their relationship and what we have is an emotional roller-coaster ride through the night with lot sof violence, verbal and physical, as well as revelations about why they are the way they are. What Weller has done in this play is captured the lives of many married couple, perhaps a neighbor or a friend that is going through tough times in their marriage. Will this couple kill each other, breakup or find a way to bring back the emotion they had felt before for another chance to stay alive, together. Both Adam and Jan  have things that are fearful to them. Jan has a new business with lots of wasted effort. Adam, who at one time was on the rise in his industry has hit that period where the jobs are scarce and money is tight. He travels to the Midwest to work a job he feels is far below his talent and in the back of this couple’s minds, they each feel that the other has changed to the point where they are not respectful of each others needs and wants.

On this night, a lot comes up and what starts out as a wonderful, romantic night without a child at home turns into an evening of turmoil, hate, passion, truths and possibly in the end, hope and love! Directed by Joe Jahraus, who it appears truly understand what it is Weller is expressing, he gets the best out of both actors and their talents. The story is a bit contrived in that so much can happen in so short a time and two very angry people are able to ride that roller coaster to what appears to be a redeeming conclusion as their troubled son leaves the sleep-over early to come home. For those of you who know Profiles, you know that this is one of the smaller store-front theaters in town and thus very intimate(almost as if you are in the room), so when an argument happens and things are thrown about, be alert, you could easily end up with a bottle of ketchup hitting your leg as it bounces off Adam! The set by the way ( the action takes place in a kitchen, as a lot of their plays do)designed by Thad Hallstein is a workable one with a staircase leading up to the bedrooms and what appears to be a working kitchen. The lighting ( Lindsay Lyddan) works and the sound/music by Jeffrey Levin seemed to be okay once they got the opening track to be on target. This is the only real glitch in what otherwise was a flawless and energetic production. Technical problems in a small low budget production, in particular on opening night are forgiven. Cory Weinberg, the prop-master, truly has the hardest of jobs, in that there are a lot of props that need to be replaced on a regular basis. I would think their prop budget is one of the larger line items.

While the production as a whole was well produced, I found it a bit over powering with the language and the nudity and 90 minutes ( no intermission) of almost non-stop yelling. Yes, there were a few tender moments, quiet ones where you felt that the story was really a love story filled with that special romance on a very special night for two people who have had very little time together in recent days. Then the bombs burst in air, the rockets went off and all hell broke loose as these characters began to show emotions that might make one run for the door. This is what Profiles wants to do, tell the story as Profiles tells stories and they do this well. You will have to be your own judge on just how well this was accomplished. You will be entertained and you will see people you know in these characters. I can guarantee you will not doze off during these 90 minutes.

“Fifty Words” will continue at Profiles Theatre located iat 4147 N. Broadway through  June 26th with performances as follows:

Thursday and Friday at 8 p.m.,Saturday at 5 and 8 p.m. and Sunday at 7 p.m.

Tickets are $35 and $40 and can be ordered by calling 773-549-1815 or online at

Students and seniors receive a $5 discount.

There is limited street parking ( and almost impossible of the Cubs are in town), but there is a lot at 4100 N. Clarendon ( at Belle Plaine) for $10 and $11 (depending on day of week). I prefer using the 36 Broadway bus as it takes you right to the door.

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