Tuesday August 22nd 2017

” We Live Here”

Highly recommended Chicago! Love it or hate it, this where many of us choose to live, partly because of its beauty and the wonderful neighborhoods, but certainly not because of the weather.These are some of the messages in Theatre Seven of Chicago’s  World Premiere of “We Live Here”, an 85 minute show that will remind you of Studs Terkel’s “Working” ( the original) in its eight little stories written by  Scott Barsotti,Molly Each,Laura Eason,Brian Golden,Kristin Idaszak,Kim Morris,Nick Ward and Doug Whippo, where nine actors and some marvelous videos tell us the stories written by each of these talented actors, some slightly autobiographical. This concept, conceived and directed by Margot Bordeleon and Cassy Sanders on the upstairs stage at The Greenhouse Theater Center intertwines many of the stories in a very “Terkel” way.

On the stage are a group of  large screens and chairs- that is the set! To be honest, that s all that is needed. The videos (Nivan Yahaghi) bring the city to us with some actual interviews of Chicagoans which are interspersed throughout the small stories- The student who comes from Pittsburgh(Desmond Gray) and his adjustment. The bike messenger ( the adorable Cyd Blakewell), a wonderful sequence with some slick moments that are more choreographed than directed, The suburbanite ( George Zerante) who takes us on his first “L” ride with his family through his moving into the city to become an actor, the trials and tribulations of being a Cub fan and the Bartman experience, The writer/waiter (Behzad Dabu) and what happens to him as he writes a “blog” about his late night customers, The friendship-love affair between  Molly ( Jessica London-Sheilds) and Doug ( Cody Proctor), another love affair, although very over between Kit ( Paige Collins) and Mark ( Clint Neagle, who also plays the boyfriend to Ms Blakewell) and the very heart rendering tale of Laura (the charming Sarah Gitenstein). This is a very solid cast, with all of its members doing ensemble parts in scenes throughout the 85 minutes- they are always there!

Some of the stories are more meaningful than others and the joining of the stories  and the transitions are not as clear as I had hoped for, but overall, I found this to be an enchating production about people and of course, the city. The topics covered are real; the changes in the city, the weather, the potholes, the neighborhoods- all real! Anyone who has transplanted here from another part of the country, or even state, knows the feeling of becoming “a Chicagoan”, and those of us who were born and raised here, know why we love this great city in spite of the weather and the potholes and the Cubs  being the loveable losers. While this is billed as a “coming of age” series of stories, I didn’t find that to be the case. I found this to be a history lesson of my city and its people, those born here and those who have opted to make this their home. The theme that continues throughout the play is that “You don’t move into Chicago- Chicago moves into you” and this is very true!  Many of you will recognize people and places that are a part of your life and if you are luck, the night you attend, theree will be a talk back where you might have the opportunity to tell “your Chicago story”!

“We Live Here” will continue at TheGreenhouse Theater Center located at 2257 N. Lincoln Avenue through September 11th with performances as follows:

Thursday,Friday and saturday evenings at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 3 p.m.

Tickets are $15-$25, a great value for a production this strong and can be purchased by calling 773-404-7336 or visit www.theatreseven.org

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