Writers’ Theatre Heartbreak House Review – Who’s Heart is Broken?
Everything about the production is beautiful, lavish, and opulent. Set Designer Keith Pitts and Lighting Designer Jesse Klug create a cocoon for the performers and audience to share. From the moment you enter the theater, you are enveloped in the luxury of the Heartbreak House’s ambiance and ambiguity.
Are you like these people? Do you like these people? Are you pleased to be a guest at this countyside estate? They are indubitably rich and free of the cares of the world, but as the evening progresses, does it make you happy to be in their company? Do you warm to them or…? Director William Brown keeps you wondering.
George Bernard Shaw deftly paints a challenging and insidious picture of beautiful people—the costumes, designed by Rachel Ann Healy, are stunning down to the slightest detail—even seams in the women’s stockings—and perfect for each an every character—who are polite, witty, sexy and charming—to a point.
And at that point you start to realize that they don’t live in the real world, most certainly not in a world at war (WWII). They’re glib, smug, flip, self-absorbed and self-deceived. They don’t even know what’s happening when they are bombed—they think it’s fireworks!
Why have these people—played powerfully by Jeannie Affelder, Atra Asdou, Kareem Bandealy, Kevin Christopher Fox, Tim Gittings, John Lister, John Reeger, Tiffany Scott, Karen Janes Woditsch and Martin Yurek-- come together? To help a young woman discover whether it is best to marry for love or money. From there the tables are turned. And then the chairs. And then the floor. And then…
Come and see Heartbreak House and see for yourself. See how many times you change your mind about what she should do. Shaw sees to that. The excellent cast and director assure it. The most unlikely characters somehow become sympathetic. The most beautiful men and women become repellent. As unreal as their characters are, the cast makes them disturbingly real. Whether you like them or not, you can’t dismiss them. Heartbreak House has so much to say to all of us, about all of us. The play stays in your head long after the final curtain. Maybe it’s your heart that is broken.
Writers’ Theatre presents Heartbreak House by George Bernard Shaw directed by William Brown
Curtain times are Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 7:30 p.m; Thursdays and Fridays 8:00 p.m.; Saturdays at 4:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.; and Sundays at 2:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. There will be no 6:00 p.m. performance on May 22 and June 26. Wednesday matinees will be performed at 2:00 p.m. on May 18 and June 22. Tickets are $45-$65 and are available at the Box Office, 376 Park Avenue, Glencoe; 847-242-6000 or online at www.writerstheatre.org.
Post-show discussions will be held every Wednesday after evening performances starting on May 4, as part of the Audience Enrichment Program. Join the artistic staff and actors from the production after the performance for an in-depth conversation. For more information, visit writerstheatre.org/enrichment.
Follow Writers' Theatre on Twitter (Twitter.com/WritersTheatre) and everyday by 3pm, Writers' will Tweet a code that can be used to purchase remaining seats for that day’s performance at a discount. Tweet Seats are available for purchase only through the Writers' Theatre website at writerstheatre.org.
ABOUT WRITERS’ THEATRE
Writers' Theatre is a professional company focusing on the Word and the Artist. Remaining true to the intention of the playwright and nurturing the artist stand at the center of the mission. Now in its 19th season, the company both revives classic scripts and cultivates new works and adaptations while invigorating them with fresh energy in the intimacy of its venues. Founded in 1992, Writers’ Theatre performed exclusively at Books on Vernon, 664 Vernon Avenue for the first 12 years. In the fall of 2003, the organization opened a new 108 seat performance venue at 325 Tudor Court. Today, Writers’ Theatre continues to produce in both spaces, maintaining an intimate theatrical experience for audiences. Since 2000, the subscriber base has grown almost 250%, from 1,500 to more than 5,700 today. With an operating budget of $3.4 million, Writers’ Theatre is supported by a staff of 20 full-time employees and a 31-member Board of Trustees.
You can find Writers’ Theatre on Facebook or follow Writers' Theatre on Twitter at Twitter.com/WritersTheatre. For more information, visit www.writerstheatre.org.
Photos: Michael Brosilow