Somewhat Recommended ** As I entered Theater One at Theater Wit and saw the set (designed to move-in perfection by Adam Veness), I felt great about what I was about to witness; another Midwest premiere in Chicago. “The New Sincerity” written by Alena Smith is a story about love, sex and protest in 90 minutes (no intermission). In this play, the title, which is often used to describe concept that run against the grain of postmodernist irony is used to investigate ethe “fine line” between sincerity and self-promotion! Rose (well -played by Maura Kidwell) is a writer who is employed by a magazine that is considered a literary journal. This rings a bell for me as I have a nephew who is the editor and founder of “The Point”, a literary journal that is distributed in Hyde Park on the campus of the University of Chicago, where he is a grad student. So, in a way, I understand what the publication is all about.
The co-founder, publisher of THIS journal, Benjamin (deftly handled by Drew Shirley) is a bright man who has a fiancée, off in Germany, an intern ,Natasha (brilliantly played by Erin Long, who needs to slow down her speeches so the comic lines are heard by the entire audience), who we find out is sleeping with her boss, and yet, he feels somewhat attached to Rose. There are many times when it appears that the chemistry between them will take them to a higher level, but Smith is more of a tease, so what we hope for never takes place.
What is taking place is a “movement” in the park near the office. The year is 2011. The city, New York. While Rose takes an active interest, Benjamin denies that this is of any importance at all. It is only when Rose brings one of the protesters back to the office, a man called Django ( smoothly played by Alex Stein), who appears to be a hippie that loves and satisfies any woman who comes near him. We watch as Rose gets involved with him despite her mixed feelings for Benjamin. Rose convinces Benjamin that getting involved in the “movement” will be a way for more exposure and that his journal will become more than just a publication of stories. Benjamin grabs the opportunity to be in the limelight and for the most part steps on all of those who brought him to this point.
Smoothly directed by Jeremy Wechsler, this is one of those scripts where the writer may have stopped short in order to make it a one -act story. To be honest, I truly did not have any feeling for any of the characters. I thought each had their own agenda and none of them truly cared about the others they spent time with. We never meet Benjamin’s fiancée, and surprise, surprise, she comes back into town after Benjamin gets involved with the protest and they have an ending that I did not see coming. I don’t like spoiling a story or play so I will only tell you that the direction is smooth, the technical aspects terrific and the actors splendid. I just wish they had a better script to take them through the 90 minutes.
“The New Sincerity” will continue thru April 17th with performances as follows:
Fridays 8 p.m.
Saturdays 8 p.m.
Sundays 2 p.m.
Tickets range to $36 (open seating) and are available at the box office located at 1229 West Belmont, by calling 773-975-8150 or online at www.TheaterWit.org
There is street parking in the area, some metered, some not and those dining at Cooper’s can park in their lot.
To see what others are saying, visit www.theatreinchicago.com, go to Review Round-Up and click at “The New Sincerity”