Saturday September 23rd 2017

“Outgoing Tide”

”Northlight Theatre aspires to promote change of perspective and encourage compassion by exploring the depth of our humanity”. This is the first line of their mission statement andtheir current production, a World Premier-” Outgoing Tide” is a play that certainly meets this criteria. This is a highly emotional story filled with comic moments, that will cause you to think; about your life, your destiny and how you feel about your future. In this story, we meet a family, Gunner, the father ( a brilliant character played to perfection by John Mahoney), his wife Peg ( Rondi Reed in another magical moment on stage) and their son, Jack ( deftly handled by Thomas J. Cox). The action takes place in their waterfront home on the shore of The Chesapeake ( an extraordinary set by Brian Sidney Bembridge), where Gunner, who is starting to lose it has invited his son to meet with him relative to the future.

Written by Bruce Graham, this is a story that reflects life and will be familiar to many in the audience. How many of us, as we age, begin to think about what happens when we are no longer the person we always were? When we forget our own children’s names and event? When we begin to face the facts that our lives may not have the quality that we have enjoyed once these changes occur?Peg has decided that what is best for Gunner is a home where he will be watched and protected; one that she can visit him  daily. Gunner refuses to be in one of these institutions, away from his home and his water. Jack has been summoned by his mother to convince Gunner that this is for the best, but Gunner has summoned  him for other reasons. He has hatched a plan of his own, one that he feels is best for all concerned and that will leave his son and wife in a comfortable position while at the same time making up for some of the indiscretions of his past.

Directed by BJ Jones, this is a masterful production, performed by three of Chicago’s finest actors and filled with wonderful and heartwarming moments, dealing with past memories through flashbacks and today- a time when Gunner feels he should have the right to do what he feels is best. After all, it is his life and not wanting to be a vegetable should be his choice. The question of who should have the final say in a choice as large as this is what everyone has to face. Can those who are to be left behind understand the mindset of the one who has made the choice? And if so, can they give their blessing so that all concerned can come to peace with this decision? Can they allow this man, Gunner, to do what he intends to do, allowing him to spend his final moments with dignity?

This play looks at how these characters react to what destiny holds in store for them and the master plan that has been well thought out and does so in a highly emotional way. Now you know the “jist” of what Graham has placed on the canvass, but watching these actors perform it as directed by Jones will be an experience that will be one to remember. I promise you, you will feel for each of these characters and I suggest you bring plenty of tissues. The lighting by JR Lederle and sound by Andrew Hansen are the icing on this masterful production, one that I feel is destined to win awards here andwherever they go next( I heartily suggest this be the next play we send to those East Coast theater people in New York, so they can once again see just how strong Chicago theater is).

You can have your opportunity to see this stunning production through June 19th with performances as follows:

Tuesdays ( except 5/24 and 6/7) at 7:30 p.m., Wednesdays at 1 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. ( except-no evening on May 25th),Thursdays at 7:30 p.m.,Fridays at 8 p.m.,Saturdays at 2:30 p.m. and 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2:30 pm.m and 7p.m. (except 6/5 and 6/19) On May 22nd the evening will be at 6 p.m.

Tickets range from $30-$50 and can be purchased at the theater box office located at Northlight in The North Shore Center for the Performing Arts, 9501 Skokie Blvd. ( just South of Golf Rd), by phone at 847-673-6300 or online at www.northlight.org. Young adults ( under 25) can purchase tickets for $10 ( with valid ID-one per person)

There is plenty of free parking and there will be designated dates with discussion to follow- check the website www.northlight.org

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