Wednesday October 18th 2017

“Wasteland”

Highly Recommended**** When it comes to new works, Timeline Theatre Company, somehow finds some of the grittiest of stories to bring on their stage. Their current production, another World Premiere,”Wasteland” written by Susan Felder is another in a long list of memorable moments in live theater. Don’t let the title confuse you. This is not a play about television, but rather a play about survival and the power of human connection. This is a stirring 90 minutes ( no intermission) about two men, prisoners of war in Viet Nam, both isolated in underground cave-like cells ( a superb set by Kevin Depinet), who are being held as prisoners. They have never met, but when Joe ( a marvelous character played deftly by Nate Burger) discovers the “other voice” after 6 months of hearing nothing on the other side of “his wall”, the communication begins. While we never see Riley (Steve Haggard) these two men who are total opposites begin to form a sort of bond. They begin to open up about their lives and their hopes and dreams, and yet, both are fearful that they will never see the light of day again.

Stunningly directed by William Brown, this is a difficult play to do as it is a small set where one actor must make us feel the terror and fear that he feels. Brown allows us to feel every emotion that Joe is feeling as we watch him stay alive and survive during what appears to be 18 months of his imprisonment. Haggard, on the other hand, not ever being seen, must give us the heart and soul of Riley by his voice and range of how he speaks the words written by Ms Felder. As we hear the two men speaking about many subjects, we see Burger, so he is easier to read, but what Haggard does is monumental and well done. These are two soldiers, with different lifestyles and political beliefs, placed in a situation that appears to be hopeless, but Ms Felder does create some hope as these two men begin to rely on each other to survive. There is one very touching scene where Joe thinks Riley may be giving up where we see just how important having a “soul-mate” has become to him. This is a play worth seeing as it shows how no matter what life has dealt you, hope and faith can help you to bear almost anything.

 

As I mentioned, the set is a small one with rock-like walls and an opening where food is tossed or placed daily. The water that these prisoners get is that which falls from the rain ( effectively created with the set. The lighting(Jesse Klug) truly gives us the feeling of being below the ground with only minor light beams flowing in and the sound (Andrew Hansen) is voices, some faint music and bugs and rodents. You may find yourself scratching during the production and if you sit in the first row, the rain may hit your shoes. The costuming for this show is very non-important to the story, except that Rachel Anne Healy has created very realistic fatigues ,that Joe has been wearing for some time and they do look as if that is the case. There is a bit of nudity in one scene and the story being what it is, some language that many find unsuitable.

“Wasteland” will continue at Timeline located at 615 West Wellington ( between Clark Street and Broadway) through December 30th with performances as follows:

Wednesdays and Thursdays at 7:30 p.m.,Fridays at 8 p.m.,Saturdays at 4 and 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m.

here is NO performance on November 22nd/Thanksgiving, but there is an added 4 p.m. on the 23rd ( Black Friday)

Tickets range from $32-$42 and can be purchased by calling 773-281-8463  ext 6 or online at www.timelinetheatre.com

Students can save $10 ( with student ID). Anyone who is familiar with Timeline Theatre knows that their productions sell out quickly, so I suggest that you not put off until tomorrow what you should do today!

Parking is available at a discount at either LAZ  3012 N. Broadway or at Standard Parking 2846 N. Broadway or at Century Mall 2836 N. Clark Street. Bring your ticket for validation. This is an easy theater to reach by bus as well

To see more about this play, visit my home page, click on to theatre in Chicago and then go to review round-up and click on “Wasteland”

 

 

 

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