Theatre

First Floor Theater open its sixth season with the world premiere of Leah Nanako Winkler’s explosive satire of the classic white American family drama, TWO MILE HOLLOW, directed by Artistic Director Hutch Pimentel. TWO MILE HOLLOW will play October 8 – November 4, 2017 at The Den Theatre, 1333 N Milwaukee Ave. in Chicago. Tickets are on sale now at firstfloortheater.com
 
The cast includes First Floor company member Aurora Adachi-Winter with Jazmín Corona Kai Ealy, Deanna L. Myers and Jose Nateras.
 
When the Donnellys gather to divide their belongings after the sale of their oceanfront mansion, both metaphorical and literal storms are brewing. As this famous, longing-to-be-famous and completely messy Caucasian family comes together with their POC personal assistant, Charlotte, some really really complicated and totally unique secrets are revealed over white wine. A satirical takedown coupled with moments of disorienting sincerity, TWO MILE HOLLOW explores the age old genre of plays about affluent white families retreating to their waterfront homes to battle it out with brutality, awe and compassion. Only this time, none of the white characters are played by white actors. 
 
The production team for TWO MILE HOLLOW includes Arnel Sancianco (scenic design), Virginia Varland (costume design), Dan Friedman (lighting design), Sarah D. Espinoza (sound design), Claire Stone (props design), Carol Ann Tan (dramaturg), Cole von Glahn (production manager) and Julie Leghorn (stage manager).

PRODUCTION DETAILS:

Title: TWO MILE HOLLOW
Playwright: Leah Nanako Winkler
Director: Artistic Director Hutch Pimentel
Cast: First Floor company member Aurora Adachi-Winter (Charlotte), with Jazmín Corona (Blythe), Kai Ealy (Christopher), Deanna L. Myers (Mary) and Jose Nateras (Joshua).
 
Location: The Den Theatre, 1333 N Milwaukee Ave. in Chicago
Dates: Previews: Sunday, October 8 at 8 pm and Tuesday, October 10 at 8 pm
Regular Run: Thursday, October 12 - Saturday, November 4, 2017
Curtain Times: Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 pm; Sundays at 3 pm.
Tickets: Previews: Pay What You Can. Regular Run: $10 - $2. Tickets are on sale now at firstfloortheater.com.

 

Published in Upcoming Theatre
Friday, 11 November 2016 23:15

Lovers and the Dearly Departed

With all the earmarks of a romantic comedy, First Floor Theater’s “Deer and the Lovers,” now playing at The Den Theatre, offers up of a barrel of laughs along with serious reflections threaded throughout.

 

Written by Emily Zemba and directed by Jesse Roth, the 100-minute play dives deep into the relationships of the four main characters that come face-to-face with death and betrayal while on a weekend retreat at a cottage house in the woods of New Hampshire.

 

Deer and the Lovers opens with Peter (Alex Stage) and Qiana (Shadee Vossoughi) arriving for a romantic get-away at her parents’ home. However, those plans were spoiled not only by the discovery of a dead deer that crashed through the front window but also the unexpected arrival of Peter’s sister Marnie (Kay Kron) and brother-in-law Felix (Tony Santiago).

 

With plenty of jokes and puns on the dearly departed animal, it becomes clear that Zemba intends for the deer to serve as a metaphor for Qiana and her path in life. For instance, while Peter is able to madly declare his love, Qiana seems less sure of her affections in comparison. And the later arrival of Marnie and Felix at the cottage shines a bright light on just why that is the case as we watch both couples deal with issues of love, commitment, secrecy and betrayal.

 

Qiana, in particular, seems obsessed with how to dispose of the deer and how it met its current fate: How did it get in the house and why? Where was it going and what was it running from? These are all questions that she can pose about her own path as well and the answers are equally elusive.

 

Later conversations with the mysterious local animal control agent Lenny (Matt Nikkila) in the second half of the play further illustrate Qiana’s connections with the deer.

 

After a dramatic reveal, we see her frantically taking matters in her own hands as she drags the deer into the woods in an attempt to bury it herself. It is almost as if she feels that finding a final resting place for the animal will bring it peace and free her from the soulless, emptiness she feels inside. And it is at that point that the symbolism of the setting in New Hampshire with its motto – Live Free or Die – becomes even more relevant.

 

Fascinating and quirky, Deer and the Lovers is time well spent. The talented cast meshes well and is effective in hitting all of the comedic points in rhythm while also delivering the soul-searching undercurrents.

 

Recommended

 

Deer and the Lovers is currently playing at The Den Theatre until December 3. Tickets are available at www.firstfloortheater.com. 

 

Published in Theatre in Review

 

 

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