As you know, I try very hard to work with every theater company, often giving them the benefit of doubt if there are ways in which I may have mis-interpreted something in a production. Cole Theatre is a new company and their current production, “The Bachelors” left me flat. This company is only in its 3rd year, so I imagine they are having some growing pains and sometimes a new company will make a selection that seems fitting for their ensemble, but from script to stage, just doesn’t work. At least for me.
When we first entered the Greenhouse Theater Center Studio Upstairs located at 2257 N. Lincoln Avenue, the set (Grant Sabin does a masterful job) gave me the feeling that this was going to be a “frat house” type of show. The furniture was college-guys décor and the painting over the couch was James Bond with a banana, which made no sense to me. The living room that was where the action took place was covered with garbage (empty boxes, bottles, cans and the likes that you may be repulsed by-Richard Latshaw was quite the busy prop-master). This is a 75 minutes show that probably needs more time to clean up after than the actual performance time.
The script written by Caroline V. McGraw, is about three guys who still share a house on fraternity row even though they are long out of school. They all work and do their jobs and despite being “adults” (at least in a physical sense) continue their college-type lives. Until this day! Laurence (Shane Kenyon tries his best to truly develop an underwritten character) returns home early from a business meeting out of town. There is a loud party going on next door and one of his “roomies”, Henry ( Boyd Harris) is at the party checking out the co-eds. On the floor of their house is the third roomie, Kevlar (deftly handled by Nicholas Bailey) a whiner who as it turns out has been informed that his girlfriend has cancer ,and knowing that her time is limited, wants to enjoy other sexual partners before she is no longer desirable.
Believe it or not, this is the basic premise to a script written by a female and directed by Erica Weiss, who is very limited by the script and the story she has to take from script to canvass- sort of like being asked to paint between the lines, but with a thick brush. Impossible. The only positives to this play, in my opinion, is that it is only 75 minutes long (no intermission) and there is a great fight scene (David Woolley gets a). I would imagine that there is a major amount of Ben-Gay in the dressing room for Harris and Kenyon.
There are many things that are brought up (not counting Kevlar’s vomiting) that go unexplained. There is a girl from the party in the attic. Her mouth is taped with duct tape and while she is naked, no one ever explains what she is doing there and what they are going to do with her. We learn that each of these boy/men has personal problems and that the “peter-pan” syndrome is surely how they are living. They now have some choices to make, but in order to do so, Ms McGraw needs to rewrite the script so we have a past, a present and some time of resolution for each of the three men she has brought to her story. Would love to hear from you if you saw it (or are game to go now).
“The Bachelors” will continue at The Greenhouse Theatre Center through April 10th with performances as follows:
Fridays 7:30 p.m.
Saturdays 7:30 p.m.
Sundays 2:30 p.m.
This Saturday they are adding a 4:30 p.m. show and another on April 2nd
They are also adding a Monday night on April 4th at 7:30 p.m.
To see what others are saying, visit www.theatreinchicago.com, go to Review Round-Up and click at “The Bachelors”