Redtwist Theatre, one of our quality storefronts located up on Bryn Mawr in Edgewater, keeps giving us stories that make us think. Currently they are presenting Conor McPherson’s “Shining City”, in reality a two person play ( although there are two other characters ) dealing with fear of the unknown and guilt for what each has done in his life. John ( Brian Parry, who always brings his characters to the stage with a very real feeling) is visiting a therapist , Ian ( deftly handled by John Arthur Lewis) to help him understand what is going on in his life. This all takes place in Dublin, and each actor does a splendid job of using authentic accents while being understood. John’s wife has recently died in a car accident and he is faced with her ghost in his home. As he opens up his heart and soul, we learn more about his past and their childless relationship as well as some of the turns in his life.
On the other hand, Ian, who has just left the church to open up his practice, has another life, a “fiance” and a child, who he has left behind as well. But Ian has his own fears- a fear of who he is and what type of life he is meant to live. He, like John, is a member of the “walking wounded”, lost souls wh have chosen paths that are not what they had hoped they would have chosen and must find out who they are before they can shake these “ghosts” that haunt them. Directed by Joanie Schultz, this is a pressure filled 90 minutes for these two characters and she manages to make it all seem real. There are 7 scenes , each representing a passage of two months. During these scenes, most of which are with Ian and John, we also meet Neasa ( Cheryl Lynn Golemo), Ian’s estranged and Laurence ( Kaelan Strouse) a young man that Ian meets in the park as he searches for his true self.
Nick Sieben’s set, depicting an office in a somewhat old walk-up is very realistic and shows how much can be done in a storefront theater with creative juices flowing and Christopher Burpee’s lighting sets the tone along with some marvelous music ( sound by Christopher Kriz). The props, of which there are many ( Emily Guthrie) and the costumes by Joelle Beranek, complete the total picture. Schultz sets the tone from the very onset and keeps us glued to the characters waiting to see what will happen to each. As we watch the stories unfold ( the stories being the mindset of our two main characters), we begin to think about what might happen to each and at the end, while it appears that John has indeed overcome his fears and guilt, we are not altogether sure about the path that Ian might be taking.
“Shining City” will continue at Redtwist through February 27th with performances as follows:
Thursdays-Saturdays at 7:30 P.M. and Sundays at 3P.M. Tickets range from $25-$30 , a very reasonable price for theater of this quality and can be purchased by calling 773-728-7529 or online at www.redtwist.org
$5 discount for students and seniors. The theater is located at 1044 W. Bryn Mawr, a short walk from the Red Line