Tuesday August 22nd 2017

“Sweet and Sad”

Profiles Theatre is one of our more outstanding “storefront” theaters and during these economic times has managed to expand their company and their stages. Congratulations on doing this! They have given up what was their Second Stage so that they be closer to the original stage on Broadway, which is now called The Alley Stage and their Main Stage is now located a few doors down at 4147 N. Broadway. Profiles is an actor driven company with productions that reflect real situations and real people. For many, Profiles represent “edgy theater” and for others, the intimate theater offers an opportunity to feel as if they are in the play as observers. Their current production, the Midwest premiere of “Sweet and Sad” written by Richard Nelson, explores one particular family on a Sunday in 2011, as they get together for a special event. This particular Sunday is Sunday, September 11, 2011, the tenth anniversary of 9-11. The Apple family is having a “brunch/lunch in the family home in New York, roughly 100 miles from Manhattan.

The town is Rhinebeck New York which has been called the “town that time forgot” and this is just one of Mr. nelson’s planned works about this quaint place in America.Each of the four ( three now done and one more on the way) take place in REAL TIME, and so we are of the feeling that we are in the room as we learn more about the Apple family in the 100 minutes on this particular Sunday afternoon. The set (Shaun Renfro) is really a bare stage which at the very start of the play is set by the cast members as they bring in a carpet and table and chairs to set the room for the meat that is about to take place.This is a play filled with props and yet no mention is made in the program.Whoever handled the many props, great job! The lighting( Mike Durst) clearly allows the audience to view it all and the little flickers that are in the show are not faulty bulbs or fuses- they are meaningful flashes of the pictures that director Joe Jahraus frames for our eyes to see and causes us to pay attention to the words being said by this wonderful cast of players that compose the Apple family ( plus one). While there are often problems in doing “arena staging” ( that is where the stage is surrounded on all four sides by audience members) with sight lines, for the most part, we have no problem seeing it all as the story carefully allows us into the hearts and souls of these people- a somewhat dysfunctional family that was greatly affected by 9-11.

Residing in the home are Barbara ( a powerful performance by Kate Harris) and her younger sister Marian ( Kristin Ford) who has moved in after divorcing her husband after a tragedy in their lives during 9-11 and Uncle Benjamin ( deftly handled by Robert Breuler, a fabulous character actor), a former actor who is “losing it”. The special visitors of the day are sister Jane ( the lovely Harmony France, who is truly maturing as an actress), her boyfriend, and actor,Tim ( Eric Burgher in one of his more realistic rles) and brother Richard ( Darrell W. Cox in another finely developed character) the prosperous attorney who surprised them all with his visit. A dynamic cast spending the afternoon eating and drinking as they talk life, acting, politics as well as loss and remembrance.

Nelson deals with the individual personalities of these people as we see each one open up to each other and learn that they need to listen with more than their ears, but with their inner beings as others express fears, confusion and emotions towards life, the country, society and of course “family”  The original music by Jeffrey Levin, who also does the sound is hauntingly perfect for the interlude and setting of moods. I will say that having a play in “real time” makes for a different theatrical experience. Could this be cut down to 90 minutes, possibly, but where would one cut it- each of the sequences involving these characters is important to the resolution that Nelson takes us to- for this family!

“Sweet and Sad” will continue through October 7th with performances as follows:

Thursday and Friday evenings at 8 p.m.,Saturday at 5 and 8 p.m. and Sundays at 7 p.m. ( added performance on Tuesday 9-11 at 8 p.m.

Tickets range from $35-$40, a solid theatrical value – students and seniors save $5

To purchase your tickets call 773-549-1815 or visit www.profilestheatre.org

The theater is located at 4139 N. Broadway. Parking can be a problem, so I always suggest taking the Broadway bus which drops you at the door, but if you check the website you will find parking info

to see what others are saying, visit www.theatreinchicago.com, go to review round-up page and click on “Sweet and Sad”

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