Wednesday January 24th 2018

“The Scene”

scene10One never knows what to expect upon entering a theater. Tonight, upon entering the Writers Theatre main stage, the Alexandra C and John D. Nichols Theatre, we were greeted by a stage that appeared to be created in glass (Brian Sidney Bembridge). As the play began, we realize that we are on the terrace of a high-rise in Manhattan and we are about to live in “The Scene”, Theresa Rebeck’s  biting look at how one outsider can change the lives of three wonderful friends. We are at a very “hip” party, where two bosom buddies, Lewis ( La Shawn Banks) and Charlie (deftly handled by Mark L. Montgomery) are enjoying friendly conversation and their drinks, when an outsider, Clea (a dynamic character study by Deanna Myers) begins her act of drawing them in. This young lady, recently arrived from Ohio is set to become someone special.

She is unique in her manners and her open discussion of everything. We find out that she had an interview for a position with Charlie’s wife, Stella  ( Chicago favorite Charin Alvarez), although we do not meet her character until later. We learn that Stella has a fairly high-power job and that Charlie is an unemployed actor. Louis is Charlie’s best friend and is as close to this couple as one could get without being a “ménage”. The relationship between the two men is powerful. They drink alike, they think alike, and what we learn as the story progresses is that they also “lust alike”. scene7

There are many twists and turns in this tense drama, filled with many hysterical moments, and not wanting to spoil any of the ups and downs, I will attempt to keep it “low-profile”.  What happens when one person in a relationship is feeling as if their world is gone while the other prospers? How can someone remain a true friend when deep in their heart, they have feelings for the others “woman”? Again, I will not tell you more except to say that the relationship between these characters goes up and down throughout the play, and the smooth direction by Kimberly Senior, keeps the action and the story moving with no dead spots.

scene4Think about your “best friend” and your relationship. What would happen if something major happened that would not allow that relationship to continue a sit was? Think about your “significant-other” and what would happen if they found you in a position that pushed them to the back of your mind. Relationships can be shaky, even when good. Yes, when one partner feels the other has taken over control, it could cause the other to feel hate where love should be. In fact, it could cause hate even with love still in the heart (but not in the mind).

Rebeck’s characters are all strong, with Stella and Charlie being the strongest. Clea, of course is the key to the entire story and I must say that Ms Myers, a newcomer to Writers is cast perfectly in this role. In fact, I found the entire cast ( all four players) to be sheer perfection. Each character has their special moments and what they have to say, will cause audience members to think. Do we take our mates for granted? Do we need to feel that someone wants us, all the time? Are we looking at our friends asking why them? Not Me?.

Relationships are built on love and trust. Not just those that are romantic, but those of true friendship. There are scenes in this production that will truly make one think about their own lives and the lives of friends and families. When I read the notes prior to the performance, I thought this would be a sort of “soap-opera” or “sit-com” come to life. This is far more than either. It is an eye-opener about who we are and what we expect from what we do. The set was designed to keep the action moving so it is the same basic furniture for every apartment, with the wall painting changing, a few pillows here and an ottoman moving from side to side. The costumes (Nana Zabriske), lighting (Sarah Hughey), props (Scott Dickens) and sound and original music (Richard Woodbury) complete the tech side and the fight choreography is Matt Hawkins, who truly can make it seem very real.scene3

This is a powerful production with four very talented actors bringing forth very real characters. There is some language that can be offensive (to some) and there is some simulated sex (which is handled very well), but I feel the need to advise up front. “The Scene” is a play that I feel is worth the trip to Glencoe and will be on its stage thru April 2nd, with performances as follows:

scene11Tuesdays  7:30 p.m.

Wednesdays  7:30 p.m.

Thursdays  7:30 p.m.

Fridays  7:30 p.m.

Saturdays  3 p.m.  and 7:30 p.m.

Sundays  2 p.m. and 6 p.m. (except 2/26, 3/12 & 19th and 4/2)

Wednesday matinees  on 3/15 and 29th at 3 p.m.  Running time :two hours with a 15 minute intermission.

Ticket prices rage from $35- $80 and are available at the box office, by calling 847-242-6000 or online at http://www.writerstheatre.orgscene9

The theater is located at 325 Tudor Court in Glencoe with plenty of free parking, and just a short walk from the Metra train station.

To see what others are saying, visit, go to Review Round-Up and clisk at “The Scene”.


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