Lookingglass Theatre Company is known for their creativity and style as they present inventive, collaborative and transformative works to their stage on Michigan Avenue. Their current production, “Title and Deed”, written by Will Eno, in its Midwest Premiere, truly fits this description. Directed by Marti Lyons, this one man show, featuring the perfect actor, Michael Patrick Thornton, in the role of “everyman” (as I saw it), an alleged “visitor”, albeit human, and not some alien, who sees our world from a unique standpoint.
This is a short play, roughly 70 minutes, with just one actor, but when one says Michael Patrick Thornton is the actor, we all know that there is no need for another. he is a fine story teller and during this 70 or so minutes, he gets us to laugh, to cry, to smile and to think. I would suppose, the playwright could not ask for any more emotion than Lyons and Thornton bring to the stage.
While this is not a typical script for Lookingglass to take on, with no gymnastics or high energy action, or a deep solemn story with a large cast, it is indicative of the quality that this company seeks to bring to their stage. In this case, the stage is unique in that it is a square with audience on roughly three sides, making it very intimate indeed. This allows us to look into the eyes of Thornton while he gets to look into ours as well. The far side of the stage is the ramp that allows him to get to us. If you have never seen this man on a stage (where have you been?) he is in a wheel chair. This is not his character, but after a few minutes, one forgets that he struggled up the ramp to hit the stage- he is now on the stage and has taken over our hearts and souls as the “outsider” spinning his tale of how he got to be where and who he was and the trail that he has left behind.
This unique show is one man’s search for his final destination and Thornton is masterful in doing his thing. He can keep an audience spellbound with one movement of his head, or a smug smile, or by hitting his leg with a stick at full force. Even just the slightest pause in his delivery of the strong words written by Eno, are noteworthy and will cause one to do some thinking about life, hope, destiny and that search for one’s true identity.
There are no special mentions on the technical parts of this show. It is purely the author, the director and the actor that make this such a special theatrical experience. It will not appeal to everyone! That is for sure! Every play is unique and different and no one play will be loved by everyone in every audience. That is probably why it fell short of the fifth star, which would have ranked it as a “must see”. If you are, in fact, one who enjoys a “think piece” you should put this on your “to do “list!
“Title and Deed” will continue at The Lookingglass Theatre located at 821 N. Michigan Avenue (with an entrance on Pearson) through May 3rd with performances as follows:
Thursdays 7:30 p.m.
(some 3 p.m. as well)
Fridays 7:30 p.m.
Saturdays 3 and 7:30 p.m.
Sundays 3 and 7:30 p.m.
Tickets range from $40-$60 and are available at the box office, by calling 312-337-0665 or online at www.lookingglasstheatre.org
Discounted parking is available at Standard Parking-Olympia Center garage located on Chicago Avenue- two garage doors EAST of Michigan Avenue. Bring ticket to the theater for validation. Remember, the SECOND GARAGE.
To see what others are saying, visit www.theatreinchicago.com, go to Review Round-up and click at “Title and Deed”. THERE IS NO LATE SEATING for this production and if you leave the theater, you will not be re-admitted.