I’m not exactly sure how to describe “The Grown-Up”, Shattered Globe Theatre’s new production. As we walked out, my friend said it was definitely “out there”. “The Grown-Up” is abstract, imaginative, surreal. I can’t say I didn’t like it, but I can’t say I liked it either. This is one of those plays which everyone will see differently. I give “The Grown-Up” 3 Spotlights.
The set featured an abstract design made of ropes in neon colors behind a kind of platform. The platform had a pop-up bed rest, and a hatch which opened a creepy grave. Several boxy stools, strangely reminiscent of orange-crates, in the same neon colors used in the abstract, were arranged on either side of the platform.
The cast of six, Bryan Bosque (Actor F), Cruz Gonzalez-Cadel (Actor D), Christina Gorman (Actor B), Kevin Viol (Actor A), Ben Werling (Actor C) and Joseph Wiens (Actor E), were all wearing mismatched clothing in the same neon colors used in the set. I think the clothes were just too much of a gimmick which just didn’t work. Frankly, I found them very distracting – especially the turquoise blue shoes!
As the story opens, a grandmother (Gonzalez-Cadel) knits and listens while a grandfather (Werling) tells his grandson, Kai (Viol) a whimsical story about a crystal doorknob. According to grandfather, it isn’t a doorknob at all, it’s a magical talisman recovered from a pirate ship long ago.
Being a curious kid, Kai ditches his sister during a game of hide-and-seek so he can twist the magic doorknob and see what happens. Suddenly, he’s not a kid any more, he’s making a pitch to a TV producer and his ramped-up assistant, whose job, she says, is to “maintain whatever reality is called for on any given day.”
On one time jump, Kai meets the pirate of his grandfather’s story – and given the afore-mentioned neon clothing you might expect a pirate’s hat, but alas, he dons an ordinary yellow rain-slicker. Episodes from his future confound him as he tries to stay ahead of his sister’s pursuit. On another jump, he meets his future husband and attends his own wedding reception.
The story line is easy enough to follow, although it certainly isn’t linear. I wonder though, as Kai is zooming through the highlights of his life, will he be able to go back and live the rest of his life or is this all he gets?
Shattered Globe Theatre’s production of “The Grown-Up” runs through May 23rd at Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont, Chicago. Performances are Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 8:00, Sunday at 3:00. Running time is 85 minutes, no intermission. Tickets are $33. Valet parking is available. FYI (773) 975-8150 or www.theaterwit.org.
To see what others are saying, visit www.theatreinchicago.com, go to Review Round-up and click at “The Grown-Up”.