Laura Marks new play, “Mine”, presented by the Gift Theatre, is an intense psychological thriller that will pull your heartstrings and keep you on the edge of your seat. It probes the gamut of deep emotions and connections that develop after childbirth and delves into the impact they have on relationships and well being.
The story begins as we see Mari (convincingly played by Hilary Clemens), giving birth at home in a birthing tub, an interesting and unique opening. She has taken every measure of safety to prepare for this important event which is why she chose home birth. We next see her and her husband, Peter (honestly portrayed by Gabriel Franken) lovingly holding their baby as they prepare to retire, both are exhausted, but don’t want to leave their daughter alone. They finally put her safely in the bassinet next to their bed and anxiously go to sleep. Now the story intensifies and tightens its grip!
The next morning Mari and Peter awake, and, as Peter rushes to make an important business meeting, Mari gazes lovingly upon her daughter. Suddenly; she cries out, anguish and fear envelop her face and we realize something is very wrong. The emotion of this moment is well directed by Marti Lyons, who has tightly managed the production and given us a well balanced drama. Mari is steadfast in her belief that something is wrong, that her baby doesn’t smell right and will not waver. Her connection with the child becomes distant and she becomes more tormented. Her mother, Rina (Deborah Ann Smith) tries to help her cope as does her midwife, Joan (Alexandra Main), but, to no avail. Her husband is supportive of his wife, reassures her that nothing is wrong, but dismisses her concerns. Mari’s only hope appears in the park when she meets Amy, (Cyd Blakewell) who adds to her uncertainty and angst, but offers a possible solution that thrusts Mari into an emotional and desperate action that once again brings you to your knees!
The Gift Theatre is a small venue and offers a closeness that adds to the experience for the audience. Childbirth, breast-feeding, and sex are intimacies that we observe which could come off uncomfortably, but between Marks’ writing and Lyons’ direction, it all works. The set, by Stephen Carmody, is well designed and flows with the story, supported by the lighting of Mac Vaughey which sets the right mood from scene to scene. The costumes by Emma Weber are realistic and reflect how a new mother must manage after the rigors of childbirth.
“Mine” reminds me of the kind of story we might have seen on Rod Serling’s “Twilight Zone”, walking the line between reality and the supernatural, pulling us in different directions and leaving us to decide for ourselves. It will twist you in unforeseen ways and evoke a sense of being that we rarely encounter on the stage
The Gift Theatre, 4802 N. Milwaukee Avenue (at Lawrence)
Chicago, IL 60630
Performances are Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings
at 7:30 PM, with Sunday matinees at 2:30 PM. Single tickets
are $25-$30 and subscriptions start at $50. To purchase tickets
or for more information, please call 773-283-7071 or visit
To see what others are saying, visit www.theatreinchicago.com, go to Review Round-up and click at “MINE”