Greenhouse Theater Center’s HER AMERICA Review-Real and Unexpected

Greenhouse Theater Center’s world premiere production of Her America continues their Solo Celebration! Series.  It begins with an apparent and familiar darkness centering around a working class lifestyle.  It  continues and ends with revelations of something even more haunting under the surface.  

Walking into the theater and simply looking at the impeccably created set is all the audience needs to put themselves into the type of household in which the play will take place.  

One Actress, Full Story

This solo performance focuses on Lori, a middle-aged Midwestern woman hiding in her basement.  As she starts to go through the items in the basement, she reveals more and more about the world above her and takes us through her experiences of what led to this particular day in her life.  The question of “why this day?” is answered in a full story with many characters held up by a single actress.

Kate Buddeke has been showered with awards and praise throughout her career, both locally and elsewhere (including many Broadway credits).  After seeing her performance as Lori, audience members will never question why.  Her portrayal is endearing, real, and, at times, a tad uncomfortable (certainly on purpose).  Despite the dark turns Lori takes us through, there is always a lightness and almost childlike quality deep inside to which the audience is able to cling.

Greenhouse Theater Center Makes Set Design A Character

The entire play takes place in one location, Lori’s basement.  The set is remarkably real.  Anyone who has ever descended into a Midwestern basement has seen things like half of a mixer, old blankets no one would ever want to use and random old clothing hanging over shelves.  Scenic designer Grant Sabin and prop designer Holly McCauley complement the play by making this one location into an entire world.

Relevant and Real

As Jacob Harvey, artistic director of Greenhouse Theater Center, points out in his note to the audience, we live in a time in which people are seeing each other's different stories and experiences as threats.  We refer to others as living in a bubble We then manufacture other ways of saying we are isolated from each other and out of touch with people different than ourselves.  This play represents a story of a type of woman rarely represented and a type of narrative rarely told.  The importance of telling these stories and portraying all kinds of people may not seem necessary to some, but it may open our eyes to the way others live and from where their ideas and points of view originate.

4 out of 5 Stars

Recommended

 

When:

Sundays at 2:30PM
Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays at 8 pm; Saturdays at 2:30 pm & 8 pm;

 

Where:

Greenhouse Theater Center (Downstairs Mainstage)
2257 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago

Tickets:

$34-$48
Available online at www.greenhousetheater.org
Or, in person at the Box Office
Or, by Phone at 773-404-7336

Photos:  Evan Hanover

 

Note:  An excerpt of this review appears in Theatre in Chicago.

 

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