Tuesday August 22nd 2017

“The Dumb Waiter”

Recommended***Harold Pinter created characters in his plays that were very life-like , using theater to mirror people and their issues- social , political and in many cases, psychological. Amazingly, TUTA Theatre Chicago , takes one of his greatest and best known works, “The Dumb Waiter” to a new level in its current production in their studio theater “loft” located in what might be termed an industrial area  located on Fulton just west of Damen. Arriving at the theater, at 2010 west Fulton is just the start of the adventure that Tuta and Pinter bring to us. You buzz the TUTA buzzer and the door is buzzed back to allow you entrance to the facility. Up the stairs one flight and to your left in what feels like an industrial building, passing many doors, you get to the entrance. When you enter, you are placed in a small room that has a video projected on the wall, a bar and chairs and tables. A bell rings and the barkeep escorts you into the “theater” slowly up a ramp, to another floor where the audience members gather, single file to observe what will take place below. You will be on your feet, looking down on the action for about 60 minutes, so be prepared. I counted 18 guests in attendance and that pretty much filled the space.

In a few minutes, the fourth wall, which in this case is in actuality the ceiling, rolls back revealing a small room with a chair, bunk beds and two doors! That is the set and where all the action takes place. There are two men in this room, Gus ( Trey Maclin) and Ben (Andy Hager). They are “hit-men” working for a “corporation” waiting for instructions on their next “hit”. As we watch and listen to their conversation, we learn that they do not know who the target is and for the most part, who they are employed by, As they wait, they find that their location might have been a restaurant at one time as there is a “dumb waiter” on the wall. NOTE: for those of you unfamiliar with this expression, back in the day, this was a small elevator contraption that allowed a second kitchen to make items and send it up to the main kitchen or in wealthy homes, from the kitchen to the master suite.

Through this “Dumb Waiter” messages are conveyed to these men including orders for food. While they are dumbfounded at this, they are also unsure as to who the notes are from and so, they send up all of the food they have brought with them as snacks, to be safe.As we watch these two men in this very small area(designed by Joey Wade) and directed to perfection by Zeljko Djukic, we become caught up in their personalities, their fears and find ourselves not caring about why they are there, but why they are being toyed with. This is just about an hour of sheer theater magic, but for many audience members, a bit uncomfortable. There is a very funny scene when they prepare for “the kill” as they dress up in suits, vests and ties to the BeeGees “Stayin’ Alive” ( quite comical and ironic as it turns out). Both actors give splendid performances and develop characters that are very realistic. I guess the ending is what bothered me the most, but it is a shocker that I will not give away- just a bit of a let-down.

“The Dumb Waiter” will continue at Tuta’s loft through August 18th with performances as follows:

Thursday,Friday and Saturday evenings at 8 p.m. and a Saturday early show at 5 p.m.

Tickets are a mere $25 and can be purchased  by calling 1-800-838-3006 or online at www.brownpapertickets.com

to learn more about TUTA visit www.tutato.com

to see what others wrote about this production, visit www.theatreinchicago.com, go toreview round-up and click on” The Dumb Waiter”


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