Tuesday May 30th 2017

“Shadowlands”

“Provision Theater Company is devoted to producing works of hope, reconciliation and redemption”. This is a portion of their mission statement and under the direction of Artistic Director Tim Gregory, they have succeeded in continuing to bring us a nice mixture of plays, musical and non-musical. Their current production, “Shadowlands” written by William Nicholson gives us some insight into the character of C.S. Lewis, a world renowned writer, played in this production by Brad Armacost, on e of Chicago’s most gifted performers. Lewis, a single man has a life filled with intellectual pursuits and spends time lecturing and with his professor friends and his brother ( a stylish performance by Leonard Kraft, a retired military man) who shares his home. As a result of one of his tours, he has received a letter ( one of many he receives from the women who attend his lectures and book signings) from Joy Gresham, a New York socialite/poet who is coming to England and would like to meet with him. Mrs. Gresham ( deftly handled by Susan Moniz, who most of us know for her performances in musicals at our regional theaters, in this role shows her versatility) and her son Douglas ( Johnny Rabe), spend a great deal of time together and as the time goes on and changes in her life take place a certain chemistry begins to take place. As it turns out her husband has cheated on her and offers her the opportunity to divorce him, which she does. She moves to England and a special relationship grows even deeper.

In order to appease the immigration laws, Lewis marries Joy, but not for anything other than to maintain their friendship and allow her and her son to stay in England. During their relationship and the turn of events that arise, Lewis begins to grow as an individual, finding that the feelings and emotions that he has written about, and never felt, are now happening within him. Love blooms in his heart and in hers and when she is taken ill, he begins to realize that to love someone is a great feeling, but that with it also comes the pain of knowing that one day, this great love will only be a memory.

Directed by Tim Gregory and a massive set ( for this theater) designed by Inseung Park, the action of this story moves fairly swift. It is a “talky” play, one with lots of dialogue, but due to the strong cast and solid direction, noone is looking at their watch wondering when will it be over. The audience needs to see what will happen next as we watch this true love story unfold. The ensemble members that make up the rest of the cast are: Amber Burgess,Bill Chamberlain, Greg Foster,Charlie S. Jensen and the very dry ( and funny) Elliott Fredland. Each of these actors contributes to making this wonderful story take life on the stage at Provision, which is located at 1001 West Roosevelt Road ( at Morgan) with lots of free parking.

“Shadowlands” will continue through March 20th with performances as follows:

Friday and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 3 p.m.

Tickets are $25-$28, students $15 and can be reserved/purchased by calling 312-455-0065 or visiting www.provisiontheater.org

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