Windy City Playhouse’s “THIS” – Repartee Loaded Script

In swivel chairs that are much of the seating, Producers Josh and Milan Rubenstein and Artistic Director Amy Rubenstein. Photo: Justin Barbin

 

“Theater Space Continues to Steal the Show” could still be the title of any Windy City Playhouse production.  First- no struggle for parking in this neighborhood!  Showing the space’s flexibility, the staging was flipped yet again.  The same comfortable lounge chairs,

 

The bar is quite happening and popular. Drinks are amusingly named for the theme of each play

 

The den area in the Windy City Playhouse

 

welcoming bar, little tables for your drinks and food—this is the living room you wish you always had, except it has live theater too!

 

The “THIS” set includes dozens of doors, with the imagined aim, in part, of highlighting a line in the play that equates doors with wolves (Set design:  Katie-Bell Kenney). 

 

From L to R: Joe Zarrow (Alan), Brian Grey (Jean-Pierre), Steve O’Connell (Tom), Tania Richard (Marrell) and Amy Rubenstein (Jane) in Windy City Playhouse's production of THIS. Photo credit: Michael Brosilow

 

The characters in the play are four friends that go back to college days (Steve O’Connell as Tom; Tania Richard as Marrell; Amy Rubenstein as Jane; and Joe Zarrow as Alan) and Brian Grey as Jean-Pierre, a Frenchman MD who works for Doctors Without Borders.

 

Jane is a young widow with one child.  Marrell and Tom are parents of a non-sleeping newborn. 

 

From L to R: Joe Zarrow (Alan) and Amy Rubenstein (Jane) in Windy City Playhouse's production of THIS. Photo credit: Michael Brosilow

 

Alan is a heavy-drinking gay man with the gift/affliction of total recall memory.  

 

Jane and Tom have a very brief fling, in which the door comes in very handy. 

 

From L to R: Tania Richard (Marrell) and Amy Rubenstein (Jane) in Windy City Playhouse's production of THIS. Photo credit: Michael Brosilow

 

Marrell, a jazz singer, flirts with the Frenchman and confesses her marital problems to her best friend Jane, who has just committed adultery with Marrell’s husband.  Guilt, grief, and the problems of waking up one day middle aged are the stuff of the story.

 

From L to R: Brian Grey (Jean-Pierre), Amy Rubenstein (Jane), Joe Zarrow (Alan), Tania Richard (Marrell) and Steve O’Connell (Tom) in Windy City Playhouse's production of THIS. Photo credit: Michael Brosilow

 

There are a lot of laugh-out-loud lines in this script (Playwright:  Melisssa James Gibson). 

 

From L to R: Joe Zarrow (Alan), Amy Rubenstein (Jane) and Brian Grey (Jean-Pierre) in Windy City Playhouse's production of THIS. Photo credit: Michael Brosilow

 

It is in the same solar system as the repartee-laced Neil Simon play, “Chapter Two” that the theater group’s artistic director, Amy Rubenstein, similarly selected for staging in which she was also cast as a lead.  Here though, one might use the admittedly tired quip “Deep Down, She’s Really Superficial” to talk about any of these self-involved characters.  Near the play’s conclusion, when the French doctor says to the four college days friends, in so many words, that their concerns are petty, you too, perhaps squirming at being caught in a room with such people for a few hours, may want to shout out “Amen”!

 

Now through August 28. 

 

Windy City Playhouse

3014 West Irving Park Road

Chicago

 

For tickets or information call 773 891 8985 or visit the Windy City Playhouse website.

 

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