We've just got to grin and bear it.
So seems to be the theme of FOR SERVICES RENDERED, a look into the after effects of war. Though most English soldiers were proud to serve their country in World War I, the people needed to pick up with pieces after it, and so it wasn’t as glorious a return as these service men might have hoped. But no matter what, everyone just needs to grin and bear it. They’ll be able to get through these times and find happier ones in the future, won’t they?
Griffin Theatre Takes Us Back to 1932
Looking into a tastefully decorated living room, we begin to meet the various characters running through the Ardsley family’s home on this late summer’s day.
Charlotte Ardsley sits with her friend Gwen as her adult children come in from a tennis game, just in time for afternoon tea. They all laugh and share pleasantries as they sip their tea, making for a delightfully pleasant afternoon. At the surface it seems like perhaps the Ardsley family and their friends have had some setbacks because of the war, but overall they’re living comfortably and happily.
But slowly each one reaches a breaking point as the deeper effects from war come to light. The men who served are finding it hard adjusting to a life out of the war - one with a failing business, one turned to alcohol, and one left blind from the war.
They all try to keep their heads up and, well, just grin and bear it. But soon each one reaches a breaking point and leaves them at a crucial junction if they can keep going this way or else something needs to change.
Poignant Messages for Today
Though the show is set in the 1930s after World War I, there are moments that bring us back to present day.
These men that have come back from war after leaving with promises from their government saying they’ll be taken care of. But here they are and most are left with those promises unfulfilled. Plus the people around them must also try and deal with the aftermath both taking care of the people they love and adjusting to a changed society.
It hits a note that no matter what time, war creates change in society and sometimes the people within aren’t able to come back to a “normal” life after the war without the proper support they need.
Dialogue Heavy & Emotional Breaking Points
FOR SERVICES RENDERED relies heavily on dialogue as the action relies mostly on characters having conversations with each other as more and more of their relationships are revealed. It has similarities to a Noel Coward play or other British works written around this same time.
Our actors played their characters similar to the theme by keeping things light on the surface and keep to the British way of a stiff upper lip. But as we keep moving through the play, we see their inner turmoil growing until it boils over leaving behind a very emotional wake.
FOR SERVICES RENDERED might not be the best fit if dialogue heavy or history play don’t pique your interest. However, if you are a history buff or like theatre that makes you take a hard look at life around you, this would be a good fit for you.
Note: This is now added to the Picture this Post round up of BEST PLAYS IN CHICAGO, where it will remain until the end of the run. Click here to read – Top Picks for Theater in Chicago NOW – Chicago Plays PICTURE THIS POST Loves.
Aly Renee Amidei
Spencer Ryan Diedrick
Rachelle ‘Rocky’ Kolecke
Now through July 6, 2019
Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 pm
Sundays at 3:00pm
Please note: there will not be a performance on Thursday, July 4.
The Den Theatre
1331 N. Milwaukee Ave.
Note: Picture This Post reviews are excerpted by Theatre in Chicago
About the Author
Alexis is a theater reviewer, travel bug, media specialist, and burger & beer enthusiast. During the day she works in the advertising business as a senior communications designer. When night falls, or when she can escape to New York, she’s hitting the theaters to see as many shows as she can. And whenever she’s not at her desk or in the audience, she’s out seeking the best burger and beer offerings in Chicago.
Editor's Note: Click here to read more Picture this Post articles by Alexis Bugajski