The Chopin Theatre’s downstairs space is small and intimate, and the artistic team sets up a variety of chairs, tables, and couches for the audience. The room is fairly dark, with much of the light coming from small candles set up on the little café tables. As the play begins, we watch the actors prepare their instruments on stage. The actors joke around with the audience, immediately creating a relationship and inviting us in. The ambiance feels informal and casual.
The actors then take their positions and start to play their instruments performing this folk-punk score, starting an emotional roller coaster for the next 75 minutes.
For the entire show, the stage itself is bare except for the actors, instruments, and a border of sand. As nightmares play out on stage, we see the lights go dim, and one of our main characters, Abigail, (played by Emilie Modaff) picks up and release piles of sand. As she does this the band performs slow melodies in low light. The image of white sand falling in this candlelit space haunts.
Kokandy Productions Presents a Musical Memoir
This is Hundred Days, with music and lyrics by the Bengsons, a musical memoir that follows Abigail and Shaun Bengson’s love story. From the moment they meet to the choice to get married three weeks later, this couple lives their story as if there are only a hundred days to live. With every high stakes decision forced into such a tight window, the musical is full of twists and turns, sometimes surprising us. Abigail and Shaun (Alec Phan for this performance) sit at a table center stage. Their relationship has gone through so much already, and still has a whole journey to go. The tension is high, and it’s impossible not to feel the weight of the serious, life-changing decisions that are just waiting to be said aloud. As they stare at each other, Abigail simply asks where Shaun sees himself in his 30s. Then in his 40s, 50s, and so on. Abigail shares their answers, and the two smile as they dream about the possibilities.
Love, Fear and Death
“This is a musical about loving someone even though we’re all going to die someday. It’s about being scared and doing the thing anyway… It’s about remembering that you’re not alone.”
So says Director Lucky Stiff’s handwritten note in the virtual program
Much of the story is about fear of death, and at various points, Abigail has visions of losing the love of their life. As much as Hundred Days explores the darker, heartbreaking parts of love, there are also light moments of happiness that elicit joyful laughter.
Those searching for a deeply touching love story would love to spend a night watching Hundred Days.
Grace Bobber (ensemble) David Gordon-Johnson (ensemble), Lucas “Looch” Johnson (ensemble), Royen Kent (Shaun Bengson, Saturdays & Sundays), Emilie Modaff (Abigail Bengson), Alec Phan (Shaun Bengson, Wednesdays, Thursdays & Fridays), Brennan Urbi (ensemble) and Melanie Vitaterna (ensemble).
Jackie Fox (scenic and original lighting design), Virginia Varland (original costume design), Mike J. Patrick (sound design), Patrick O'Brien (sound design, engineer), Noah Watkins (associate director), Abby Teel (stage manager), Irena Hadzi Dordevic (associate scenic designer), Nicholas Reinhart (production manager), Henry Muller (lighting design), Scot Kokandy (executive producer) and Derek Van Barham (producing artistic director).
Running through January 9, 2022
Wednesdays at 8pm
Thursdays at 8pm
Fridays at 8pm
Saturdays at 8pm
Sundays at 5pm
The Chopin Theater
1543 W Division St.
About the Author: Lauren Katz
Lauren Katz is a freelance director and dramaturge, and new to the Chicago Theatre Scene. She recently moved from Washington DC, where she worked with Mosaic Theater Company of DC in Company Management, as well as directed around town with various theaters.
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