Tuesday May 30th 2017

“There Is A Happiness That Morning Is”

Poetry is different things to different people, mostly it is rhymed verse that speaks to love and romance as well as the telling of a story that has true meaning to the poet. Try to imagine, if you can, a play that is in fact a comedy of sorts that is written in rhymed verse about what is believed to be a true love between two college lecturers who just the evening before their end of the year lectures have displayed their affection and love on the college grounds with their students in attendance- what can the consequences be? And how will they handle it? That is the premise of Mickle Maher’s new comedy presented at the DCA Storefront Theater by Theater Oobleck, “There Is A Happiness That Morning Is”!.

Bernard ( a powerful and comedic touch by Colm O’Reilly) is an ex-folksinger who lectures on the poet William Blake.Bernard is a barely published poet himself but is known for his deep analysis of Blake’s “Songs Of Innocence”. His lover, Ellen ( a dynamite performance by Diana Slickman, who many have seen on Chicago’s stages, but only those lesser known) is a noted scholar on Blake’s “Songs of Experience”- together they cover this man’s true meaning and together they share their experience and love for his work. They have decided that since these works deal with the power of joy and it would best to show their students the joy of love, to have them all attend a special event  in the wooded are of the campus. Here they bare it all and make passionate love, with all their students in attendance and as it turns out in full view of the dean.

Having been caught in the act, they are now being told that they must justify their behaviour and apologize to the students, the faculty and the board. As the play begins , it is morning and Bernard, who appears to be slightly drunk staggers into the lecture hall to give his lecture and as he does, the story of the previous evening begins to be exposed to us, the audience ( representing the students in the hall) as he continues to lecture, Ellen comes into what appears to be another lecture hall to start her afternoon session on her poem and Bernard leaves, as she continues her story of the love that has been hers for the past almost 20 years.

As their stories go on and he returns to hear her lecture and see if she will indeed apologize, they talk about how they met and how he became a lecturer and of course her rants at the dean and his attitude towards the preceding evening. Slowly we see that the flame that bound them together looks to be dying down and that her discovery of illness and her forthcoming demise will endtheir relationship. Is this just a way of ending it before her death so that he will go on withlife? Can a love this strong die so quickly? Will they lose both their jobs and their love? Here is where telling you about this play gets a little more difficult as there is another person involved and o tell you to much would ruin the element of surprise that is written so beautifully into this play. I can only tell you that Kirk Anderson does a remarkable job with his character and is evidently in great shape as well.

This simple 90 minute production is well staged and the three actors bring  something real and special to their roles. Poetry is something that many shy away from, but for those who love poetry and those who are “romantics” at heart, this production will open their hearts and minds as to the question of why poems are read at all? Do we read poetry just to read it? Or is poetry something to quote from? Is “Joy” something that we feel alone? Or with another? There are many answers to many questions in this lovely poetic production, a production that bring laughter to your heart and soul and things to think about and a wonderful end to a delightful story indeed!

“Happiness” will continue at The DCA Theater and Theater Oobleck at The Storefront Theater located at 66 East Randolph Street, though  May 22nd with performances as follows:

Thursdays,Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays* at 3 p.m.

* No performance on the 24th of April-Easter- Thursday,May 19th will be an 8 p.m. performance with a post show discussion to follow and the April 21st performance will also have a post show discussion.

Tickets are pay-what-you-can. How’s that for making live theater affordable. It is suggested that $15 per person be the amount, and I for one think this is one of the best values in theater in Chicago. Thanks to the City of Chicago for making this possible.

To get your tickets, stop by the the DCA box office at The Chicago Cultural Center at 78 E.Washington Street, call 312-742-8497 or visit www.dcatheater.orgfor more info on this delightful theater company, visit wwwtheateroobleck.com

FYI-discounted parking  is available at the Wabash Randolph self-park at 20 East Randolph street at $10. Bring your ticket with you for validation and MAKE SURE THAT YOU PARK AT THIS LOT ONLY!    

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