The Night Season Review - Love Labored

Presented by Vitalist Theatre in association with Premier Theater & Performance

The Night Season celebrates the story of the Kennedy family living with the fallout of the desertion by their mother 15 years ago. The three lively and alluring sisters have grown up, are each yearning for love, but are afraid of being hurt. Their dad, an impetuous, tender-hearted rapscallion, disappeared down a bottle, but is
resurfacing with his eye on love, too, and now their eccentric and somewhat lusty grandmother is nearing the end.

Eldest daughter Judith (Vanessa Greenway) and her father (Don Bender)

One rainy night, an American film star arrives to play Yeats in a biopic being filmed in town and love creeps in the door with him.

Rose (Kelly Lynn Hogan) and John (Jared Fernley)

The inspiration for The Night Season, the tumultuous love affair between William Butler Yeats and Maude Gonne, serves as a precursor  for a this contemporary tale of love.

Maternal Grandmother Lily (Mary O'Dowd) and American John (Jared Fernley)

"The night season," taken from the 22nd Psalm (King James version), is defined as "a time of despair" and is set in Sligo, Ireland, where William Butler Yeats loved and despaired. The Night Season, a tale of headstrong, elusive women obsessed with lost love shows us love that abandons and rescues, endures and is patient.

Patrick (Don Bender), Judith (Vanessa Greenway), Lily (Mary O'Dowd, and Maud (Eden Newmark)

The men like the women are afraid of being hurt.  Gary especially is so overwhelmed  with love for Judith, he’s afraid to speak for fear he’ll say the wrong thing. Come to think of it, the women were such towering life forces, all the men seemed to be under their spell. Like Yeats:
    “Oh, love is the crooked thing,
    There is nobody wise enough
    To find out all that is in it,
    For he would be thinking of love
    Till the stars had run away,
    And the shadows eaten the moon…”

In their mission statement, Vitalist Theater states their goal to explore "the space in between our perception of reality and reality itself.” The imaginative set with the starlit sky and diaphanous panels blowing in the sea breeze transports us into that space. And the brilliant cast holds us there, in rapt wonder.

The Night Season contains strong language, adult situations and near nudity.

Rebecca, Lenkiewicz, playwright, poet and actress and the first living female playwright to have an original play produced on the Olivier stage at the London’s National Theater, in 2004 was awarded the Critics’ Circle Theater Award for most Promising Playwright for The Night Season.

Vitalist’s award-winning Artistic Director, Elizabeth Carlin-Metz.

Don Bender as Patrick; Paul Dunckel as Gary; Jared Fernley as John; Vanessa Greenway as Judith; Kelly Lynn Hogan as Rose; Eden Newmark as Maude; Mary O’Dowd as Lily.

Craig Choma, Scenic Design; Gregor Mortis, Sound Design; Richard Norwood,
Lighting Design; Rachel Sypniewski, Costume Design; and Charlie Alves, Videography.

The Theatre Building

Through October 17, 2009 at the Theatre Building Chicago, 1225 West Belmont Ave, Chicago, IL.

Box Office: 773-327-5252. Tickets also available from Ticketmaster 1-800-982-2787

Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays 7:30 p.m., Sundays 2:00 p.m.

$25 adult ticket, $20 student or senior ticket
Group discounts available for 10 or more by calling 347-804-6509.

Photos: Craig Choma for Vitalist Theater

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