Tuesday August 22nd 2017

“Happy Now?”

HappyNow-3 (1)Let me begin with my feelings about Shattered Globe as a Theater company. Their work is impressive in that for over 20 years bringing Chicago audiences eclectic works that show the meaning of being a part of the “human experience”. This being said, their latest production, “Happy Now?” written by Lucinda Coxon, making its Chicago premiere at Stage 773, is not up to their usual standards ( at least for my part) “Happy Now?” is about one particular woman, Kitty ( the lovely Christina Gorman) who has a life that most women would die for, but finds herself unhappy. She has a fine career, two kids, a husband and friends, but that doesn’t seem to be what she really wants. Kitty, not being sure if the parts of her life fit as she would like, has a chance encounter with Michael, at a work conference. He, in trying to “pick her up” explains why he does what he does and that with all in her life, her stressful life, he is the one that can bring her some true pleasure.

This causes her to think about her situation: a husband, Johnny ( deftly handled by Steve Peebles) who is more concerned about his teaching and his students and their friends over their relationship; her parents, a father that is ill and a mother that seems to be afraid of what the future will bring ( I almost felt that this character could have been eliminated and referred to only which could have made for a somewhat shorter run time and would have allowed Director Roger Smart a little more latitude on the multi-level set designed by  Amanda Rozmiarek. Their best friends are Miles ( Drew Schad) and his wife,Bea ( Courtney McKenna, who is like many young actresses in today’s theaters, she speaks to fast and to softly so those in the back row miss a great deal of dialogue, which is important for the audience to know) and their Gay friend ( does every young couple have to have a gay friend to guide them through life?) a strong performance by Karack Osborn(

Here is where I am taking another stand. While the playwright  is English and the director is English, the play itself and the story line created by Coxon is about as American as one can get, so why not set the story in New York, or perhaps, if we need a smaller town, Evanston or Oak Park? Then we can drop the “bloody” accents and understand what the actor are saying. All English plays do not need to have an accent, perhaps the classics do, but this is a very contemporary story that may be our life on the stage. Are we all happy with our lives? Can Kitty adjust to all the stress that is going on in her life? The friends breaking up, her father dieing, and this man who wants  nothing more to bring her pleasure and make her happy? After all, isn’t that what everyone wants, a little happiness?

This play and story could be stronger if cut down to 90 or so minutes and without the accents- the actors do a nice job, the set is slick, the lighting(Richard Norwood), sound (Melissa Schlesinger),costumes (Noel Huntzinger) and props (Vivian Knouse- talk about lots of stuff) make the show very workable. On the wall, we see what appear to be bodies of men climbing the ladder of success or running the rat race of survival. While it is very neat, it may be a bit distracting as we see it during the entire show. There is a fight ccoordinator/choreographer (Christina Gorman, who is Kitty) for a very well done pillow fight between potential lovers Kitty and Michael. well done and I am glad no one got hurt, just a lost button.  As the lights dim and Kitty and her friends sit to watch their favorite tv show “Will and Grace”, it is hard to tell if she is truly happy, but at least we know she is heading in the right direction.HappyNow-2

“happy Now?” will continue at Stage 773 located at 1225 West Belmont through March 2nd with performances as follows:

Thursdays,Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 3 p.m.

Tickets are $28 ( open seating) and students $10. Industry night is Thursday- tickets $15 for those IN the industry.

Chicago Theatre Week-February 14-17, use the code “THWEEK” online and get your ticket for $15 each.

To order your tickets call the box office at 773-327-5252 or visit www.shatteredglobe.org

To see what others say, visit www.theatreinchicago.com , go to review round-up and click on “happy Now?”

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