Sunday April 23rd 2017

“Jailbait”

The new play at Profiles Theatre is a very deep story about teens today. As a grandfather of twin high school freshman, this production of Deirdre O’Connor’s “Jailbait” is a little disturbing, and yes the title may scare you off, but don’t let it! This is a powerful story about two teenage girls who want to grow up and two men, adults, who want to be young again. Directed by Joe Jahraus on the very tiny stage of Profiles Theatre, we, the audience feel as if we are the “fly on the wall” watching the events of the evening as these two 15 years olds make the “club scene” pretending to be college students.

Our children mature faster today, in this new world we live in and Emmy ( Zoe Levin) who has tasted the “club” experience is going back for seconds, convincing her friend Claire ( a dynamic character study by Rae Gray) to come along. As it turns out, Claire, who is plainer and less mature ( and experienced that Emmy) is really Emmy’s pawn or get out of trouble card, as she figures that she will want to call it a night early. Emmy’s “date” is Mark ( Shane Kenyon) a thirty-something know-it-all who is only out for the action. He brings his buddy  Robert ( deftly handled by Eric Burgher) who has just come out of a bad relationship for Claire. These two men are an interesting contrast to O’Connor’s young girls, who appear to be more mature than them. As the evening progresses, we see some changes in the characters, mostly Claire and Robert and at the end of the evening all hell breaks loose, but for Claire, this experience changed her life.

The storyline is not one of great comfort in that we know that all the characters are wrong in what they are doing and what starts off for these two girls as a joke and an adventure turns into an enlightening experience that brings them closer together. As for the men, Mark almost becomes human and Robert realizes what he has done, and yet, although he has violated a young girl, he is almost a sympathetic character thanks to the portrayal by Burgher. Watching Gray’s Claire mature right before our eyes is a true measure of the talent she brings to this story.This is a story that will cause you to think. Not only about your young experiences or those of your kids or even grandchildren, but of what has happened to our world and our morals.

Profiles Theatre is known for bringing us plays that tell a story- stories of the human spirit and this one does just that. The beauty of this storefront theater located  on Broadway just north of Irving Park is the intimacy one feels and in this one, 90 minutes with no intermission, we do indeed feel as if we are in the bedroom, the club, the bathrooms and Robert’s apartment with just a small change here and there. The set by Sotirios Livaditis is simple, but works and Jess Harpenau’s lighting effects perfect. The sound design and original music by Jeffrey Levin are just the icing on the cake. “Jailbait” will continue at Profiles, 4147 N. Broadway through October 17th with performances as follows:

Thursday,Friday and saturday evenings at 8 p.m.- Sundays at 7 p.m.

Tickets are $30-$35. There is a $5 discount for seniors and students. To order your tickets call 773-549-1815 or online at www.profilestheatre.org

There is limited street parking on Broadway and surrounding area, but there is a parking lot located at Clarendon and Belle Plaine for $10-$11. Better yet, The CTA drops you right at the door ( Broadway 36)

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