The Green Bay Tree at Pride Films and Plays
Adapted from Mordaunt Shairp’s original play by Tim Luscombe and directed by Amy L. Sarno, The Green Bay Tree is in essence a farce following Julian (Bradley Halverson), a young man raised on luxury by Dulcimer, who adopted him from a young age to train him as his protégé (Alexander McRae). All at first seems well – Dulcimer prepares his home for dinner with the help of his butler, Trump (played with amusing comedic timing by Buzz Leer), and the two simply wait for Julian to join his father-figure at the table. When Julian enters with the new information that he has not only fallen in love with Leonora (Kristen Alesia), but has also invited her over for dinner to introduce her as his new fiancé, everything begins to unravel. Dulcimer is not ready to lose Julian’s companionship, and he will stop at nothing to keep him there.
The play itself is a wild ride of reveals – from the introduction of the fiancé to the return of forgotten family members, along with the undertones of sexual desire from Dulcimer towards Julian, suggesting that Dulcimer’s relationship with his protégé is not all innocent and familial. Shairp’s story is a warning and commentary on the temptations of luxury. and how it can lead to harmful and inescapable cycle.
The play takes place in the 1930s, and the design successfully transports the audience to that time – especially through Noël Huntzinger’s impressive costume design. Each of her ensembles feels perfect for bringing the character to life – from Dulcimer’s colorful fabrics in his many outfit changes depending on the occasion, to Leonora’s beautiful, but slightly more understated dresses as a successful working woman.
Other than these outstanding costume choices, this writer at least, felt that the production did not live up to the comedy-rich script potential. This could be more a reflection that at times it was too difficult to follow as quickly and exactly as this reviewer would have liked.
Note: An excerpt of this review appears in Theatre in Chicago
Playing through July 8, 2018
Mondays at 7:30pm
Thursdays at 7:30pm
Saturdays at 7:30pm
Sundays at 3:00pm
Pride Arts Center
4147 N. Broadway St.
Chicago, IL 60613
Buzz Leer ….. Trump
Alexander McRae….. Dulcimer
Bradley Halverson…. Julian
Kristen Alesia…. Leonora
Gary Smiley…. Owen
Mordaunt Shairp….. Playwright
Tim Luscombe…. Adaptor
Amy L. Sarno…. Director
Noël Huntzinger…. Costume Designer
Evan Frank….. Set Designer
Blake Cordell…. Light and Sound Designer
Hillarie Shockley…. Props Designer
Richard Gale…. Dramaturg
Jackson Dougherty…. Stage Manager
About the Author:
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.
Click here to read more Picture this Post stories by Lauren Katz.