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Tuesday, 16 January 2018 03:42

Review: Five Mile Lake at Theater Wit

With the homecoming and family-visit season safely in the rear-view, Shattered Globe presents a new play by Rachel Bonds about the places we come from. “Five Mile Lake” is directed by Cody Estle, his first production with the company.

Bonds writes about a feeling that many city transplants can relate to all too well. “I can’t believe I managed to spend 18 years there,” she says of her small hometown in the stage notes. Though Bonds seems to have escaped small town life at a young age, her script is not a snobby look down her nose at small town America, in fact, it’s almost the opposite. There’s a longing for a perceived simplicity in this play. The irony is that no matter where you live, complexity is unavoidable.

‘Five Mile Lake’ is about five characters in a town outside Scranton, at the edge a frozen lake. The symbolism is not lost. Local coffee shop coworkers Mary (Daniela Colucci) and Jamie (Steve Peebles) live fairly uneventful lives until Jamie’s older brother returns with a new girlfriend and an open-ended visit.

In many ways, this is a retelling of Chekhov’s masterpiece ‘Uncle Vanya’. Mary and Jamie seem to toil endlessly in their dismal lives. Jamie works on a lake house his brother Rufus (Joseph Wiens) and girlfriend Peta (Aila Peck) are suddenly interested in when their impressive city-life turns to shambles. Mary is bogged down by a shell-shocked brother Danny (Drew Schad), all the while dreaming of a life outside Five Mile Lake. Between these desires for other circumstances are subtle, but wholly palpable, moments of truth.

Shattered Globe is an ensemble theater and most of their productions feature familiar faces. The result is a sense of intimacy between actors that translates to an audience. There’s a naturalistic cadence to Rachel Bonds’ dialogue too. Sometimes inside-jokes or silliness between characters seems contrived on stage. Whenever Daniela Colucci is in a scene, you feel like you’ve known her all your life. There’s something really authentic going on here. Estle gets great performances out of even the smallest, non-verbal moments of the play. A scene in which Rufus and Mary’s older brother Danny run into each other after years of estrangement is so fraught that just a searching look from Drew Schad is enough to break your heart.

“Five Mile Lake” is a prime example of why you should see new work. Sometimes it’s a gamble, but other times in the middle of an ordinary Sunday you find yourself completely invested in the problems fictional characters. You take them with you, because they are you.

Through February 24th at Shattered Globe Theatre. Theater Wit. 773-975-8150

Published in Theatre in Review

Shattered Globe Theatre is pleased to continue its 2017-18 Season with Rachel Bonds’ new drama FIVE MILE LAKE, directed by Cody Estle. This Chicago premiere asks the question, “In this rapidly transforming world, when is the right time to make a major change in your life? What holds you back?” FIVE MILE LAKE will play January 11 – February 24, 2018 at SGT’s resident home Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont Ave. in Chicago. Tickets go on sale Wednesday, November 15 at www.shatteredglobe.org, by calling (773) 975-8150 or in person at the Theater Wit Box Office. The press opening is Sunday, January 14, 2018 at 3 pm.
 
FIVE MILE LAKE will feature Shattered Globe ensemble members Steve Peebles*, Drew Schad*, Joseph Wiens* and SGT artistic associate Daniela Colucci+ with Aila Peck. 
 
In a style reminiscent of Chekhov, five spirited young adults approaching thirty try to navigate the emotional undercurrents of unrequited love, loss and possibility. The unexpected return of a sibling sets in motion an inadvertent winter reunion in their small Pennsylvania town – the kind of claustrophobic place that most kids grow up to leave. Looking toward the frozen lake and wrestling with their future, each character aspires to make a new choice – the “right” choice – and comes face-to-face with the choices they have already made.
 
Comments Director Cody Estle, “Five Mile Lake is a funny and moving portrait of small town people –both the people who stayed and the people who moved away. Sometimes everyone else’s life looks better from a distance but what really defines happiness? Coming from a small town myself and being around the age of these characters brings a special connection – it’s a story that I'm eager to tell. It’s filled with family, dreams and hope – I think it will engage, move and inspire audiences.”
 
Producing Artistic Director Sandy Shinner adds, “The writing in Five Mile Lake is a gift to actors as they explore the tension between what the characters say and what they feel. In this season of all Chicago premieres, Shattered Globe is excited to welcome playwright Rachel Bonds to our theater. She’ll be joining us during the creative process and we look forward to introducing her to Chicago’s theater community and our audiences.”
 
The production team for FIVE MILE LAKE includes Jeffrey D. Kmiec (scenic design), Hailey Rakowiecki (costume design), JR Lederle (lighting design), Christopher Kriz+ (sound design), Vivian Knouse* (props design), Eva Breneman (dialect coach), A.J. Roy (asst. director), Judy Anderson* (exec. production manager), Colin David (production manager), Denise Savas (stage manager) and Ayanna Wimberley (asst. stage manager).
 
PRODUCTION DETAILS:
 
Title: FIVE MILE LAKE
Playwright: Rachel Bonds
Director: Cody Estle
Cast (in alphabetical order): Daniela Colucci+ (Mary), Aila Peck (Peta), Steve Peebles* (Jamie), Drew Schad* (Danny) and Joseph Wiens* (Rufus).
 
Location: Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont Ave, Chicago
Dates: Previews: Thursday, January 11 at 8 pm, Friday, January 12 at 8 pm and Saturday, January 13 at 8 pm 
Press Performance: Sunday, January 14 at 3 pm
Regular Run: Thursday, January 18 – Saturday, February 24, 2018 
Curtain Times: Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays at 8 pm; Sundays at 3 pm. Please note: there is an added matinee on Saturday, February 24 at 3 pm. 
Touch Tour/Audio Description Performance: Friday, February 2 – 6:30 pm touch tour, 8 pm performance with audio description. $20 tickets available with code “ACCESS.”
Global Perspectives: SGT will be hosting post-show discussions immediately following 3 pm performances on Sundays.
Tickets: Previews: $20 general admission, $10 students, $10 industry tickets with code “FRIEND”. Regular Run: $35 general admission. Discounts: $15 students, $28 seniors, $20 under 30. $15 industry tickets on Thursdays with code “INDUSTRY.” Tickets go on sale Wednesday, November 15 at www.theaterwit.org, in person at the Theater Wit Box Office or by calling (773) 975-8150. Group discounts are currently available by contacting This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by calling (773) 770-0333. 

 

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