May 25, 2014
“I got a chance to see the play twice this past week. It was my first time seeing the full set (I’d only seen rehearsals in the rehearsal room upstairs), and I fell in love with it on sight.
On Wednesday night, I went to the show on my own and spent about 10 minutes before the show began walking in front of the stage as close as I could get, looking at all the details of it. It sounds ridiculous but I must report that my thoughts ran something like this: “Wow, this really just looks like an old woman’s home who’s a big fan of the Cubs” …Well, yes. That’s exactly what it WOULD look like because that’s exactly what it’s supposed to be! But really, think about all the details that go into an ACTUAL living room. All the knickknacks that collect over the years. All the keepsakes and photographs and dated furniture that make up what we call “home.” Now imagine trying to recreate that feeling – the ESSENCE of a well-loved, well-lived-in place – on a small, bare, black stage. Geva’s amazing Scenery Construction and Scenic Art departments start with a blank slate and create something out of nothing. The set has photos of daughter Lauren (actress Emily Kitchens), stuffed animals, Cubs blanket & lamp (and assorted other Cubs-related memorabilia), a candy dish on the coffee table, and even a small rack or bag under a side table with what seemed to be knitting (I think). All add up to a complete picture and a feeling that the audience is really in a Chicago living room.
I also really enjoyed watching the scene change at intermission – for those that haven’t seen it yet, don’t take a bathroom break if you can help it! Watch the scene change! At the beginning of the intermission, stagehands cleared off most of the props and furniture, but it’s what happened with the actual walls of the room that I found fascinating. The door switched position, the cupboard swiveled to reveal a fireplace on it’s backside, and the wall that was once a hallway now became a flat, back wall connecting fireplace to door. I can’t imagine how it was all engineered just right to fit together like a double-sided puzzle. Ingenious! (On Friday night, when I brought my parents to the show, my mom said, right on cue, “Woa, cool!” as they swiveled the cupboard-to-fireplace wall.)
Both shows I attended – Wednesday and Friday nights – seemed full of baseball fans who were laughing at the many “inside” jokes that baseball fans would appreciate. The Wednesday night show was a little less well attended, and yet the audience seemed really into it (laughing along with my rather loud chuckles), and I heard a lot of positive comments as we left the theater, including one, “That was too good to miss.”
There was also a fair number of people singing or humming along to some of the baseball themed songs that were playing before the show began. I heard one man say, “I want this playlist,” and I absolutely second that! Can I get the playlist please?! I used the Shazam app on my phone to capture a few of the titles, but I’d definitely love to know what some of the others were as well. The song that plays during the intermission is worth a listen as well – another reason not to run off to the bathroom! The song is called “A Dying Cub Fan’s Last Request” and is a hilarious laugh-through-the-pain story about what it means to be a Cubs fan, including the stanza:
He said, “I’ve got season’s tickets to watch the angels now
So it’s just what I’m gonna do.”
He said, “But you the living, you’re stuck here with the Cubs
So it’s me who feels sorry for you!” – Tate DeCaro