Tuesday August 22nd 2017

“THIS”

Theater Wit, in its comfy new location on Belmont is already making waves with the assortment of shows they are doing as well as those by the other companies renting space in this three staged venue. Their “coup” is “THIS” one of 2010’s  off-Broadway hot-plays. Written by Melissa James Gibson, “THIS” is about the change in a woman’s life after her husband’s passing away. Jane ( the scrumptious Rebecca Spence, who only needs to project a little more during her sobbing and final scenes) has been a widow raising a daughter alone for about a year when her friends try to “set her up” so she can restart her life. Her best friend, Marrell ( handled with just the right touch by Lily Mojekwu) and her husband Tom * John Byrnes) who have just had a baby and are not having the ideal life right now have invited a French doctor, Jean-Pierre ( deftly handled by Steve Hadnagy) to help re-kindle Jane’s life . Their other friend, Alan ( Mitchell Fain, who once again shows that he has a true comic touch and can make a word into a monologue with his facial movements and of course his head turn and wink), who has the uncanny ability to recall statements, arguments and discussions verbatim. 

What happens during this 95 minutes is the exploration of what love is, what friendship can be, what relationships mean and what people must be to each other in order to survive. While the writer says that this is a story dealing with pre-midlife crisis,under the careful direction of Jeremy Wechsler with this smart cast and a very unusual set( Roger Wykes) that has walls moving back and forth to take us from location to location in just a fraction of the time it would take to do a normal change. The actors help with these changes and never get “schvitzy” ( an inside joke that you will “GET” when you see the play) I found this to be more a story about a group that has gone through life’s changes and hasn’t learned to cope with all of the changes. Marriage for both ladies was far different from being single and having a child that needs caring alters the course of attention for any mother- it is not centered on the child and the family. What changed even more for Jane is that while to all others they seemed to have the perfect life, her husband’s death never allowed the world to see it as just as bad as theirs. How could they see the bad things once Ron was gone- all they had were the “good” memories. Yest, the story deals with these changes and some slips of judgement causing an affair which causes friction between this close-knit extended family, and while the ending leaves some open ends as to what may take place, we know that no matter what, none of these lives will ever be the same.While the story is not what one might call “comic”, there are some very funny moments in this play. In particular almost all the scenes in which Mitchell Fain aka Alan speaks. While I am sure the script was written for these words to be funny, his touch has to be the icing on the cake. The costumes (Samantha Jones), lighting (Mike Durst),Sound (Christopher Kriz) , original music (Peter Eldridge) and props(Sarah E. Ross) are the final ingredients in a tasty little production that will continue at Theater Wit through March 27th with performances: Thursday,Friday and Saturday evenings at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m.

Tickets range from $15- $35 and can be purchased by calling the box office at 773-975-8150 or by visiting www.TheaterWit.org

Theater Wit is located at  1229 West Belmont Avenue. There is some street parking and Cooper’s Restaurant, a fun spot directly across the street at 1232 has free parking in their lot. If you are going to grab a bite, try their brisket sandwich- really juicy and delicious and they make one great martini.

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