Everyday we play by the rules of societal politeness. We say hi to acquaintances we don’t really want to talk to. We make vague promises to definitely catch-up some time. We do this because we don’t want to hurt people’s feelings. We all want to keep the status quo and avoid confrontations at any cost.
But what if you were forced to have those confrontations?
In Theatre Above the Law’s recent production of AMICABLE, they explore what happens when six people are forced to have those honest conversations.
Theatre Above the Law Meets on a Train
If you’re a Metra train commuter here in Chicago, you will immediately recognize those blue plastic seats as we walk into the theater space. Our entire story is set on a train and it feels like we’re right on the other side of the train car as we watch our action unfold.
We start with one guy sitting here on the train decked out in Batman socks and a Deadpool t-shirt snacking on every snack chip imaginable and chugging Mountain Dew Code Red. He’s soon joined by the rest of our cast - his best friend, then a dancer and her sister, followed by a school teacher, and finally a mysterious little girl.
The Conflicts Arise
This seemingly random group of people find out they are all here for the same reason - each of them are in an “amicable” relationship where their relationship isn’t that great, but one person is holding on for one reason or another.
The catch with this particular train ride is, they all must have open and frank conversations with the other person in order to exit the train.
It’s a daunting task to have to be so open and vulnerable, so the question is will our characters be able to finally say what they have always been too polite to say?
Drama with Twists
For this writer, the beginning of AMICABLE feels a bit slow paced as we get through character introductions and suss out their relationships to one another.
But as soon as we uncover the reasons why these people were all on this train, the plot becomes juicier and gives us more twists as we dig deeper and deeper into their relationships.
Each of the connections between the characters feels like a natural connection. They make it seem just real enough that these could be reflective of relationships we all might find ourselves in at one point or another.
AMICABLE teaches us some life lessons where sometimes we don’t always get what we want, sometimes people can’t change, and sometimes relationships can be worth fighting for. AMICABLE would be a good show for anyone who likes plays that explore relationships with some little twists along the way. If you're not a fan of shows exploring emotions or dialogue heavy shows, this show might not be the best 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.
Ricki J. Pettinato
Now through June 2, 2019
Fridays & Saturdays 8:00pm
1439 W. Jarvis
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