For this writer, the superglue of this unusually bright and cheery Trap Door production begins long before the official curtain, as we get to watch most of the goth garbed and painted mask faced cast primp, pose and strut before mirrors.
The dialogue launches the story with D’Eon (David Lovejoy) conversing with his imagined Joan of Arc muse within (Ty Easley). The fast-paced rhythm of this script though is set more by the repartee of King Louis XV court where playwright Mark Brownell gets to pack in more boner jokes per second than most of us get to hear in a typical year. This is when you sit back and relax totally—knowing this is going to be one heckuva fun ride.
This trans character Monsieur D’Eon was a real person and the play tells the story of their gender fluidity more imposed upon him/her than freely chosen. D’Eon’s role as spy, manipulator, King’s emissary and later King’s bane is recounted in panoramic detail. Famous personages as diverse as Ben Franklin, Rousseau, and more flit in and out.
Each member of this super-talented cast plays many roles, and shows the acting equivalent of multi-jointed hyper-flexibility. Lovejoy, for this writer, became the relatively humdrum vanilla in the cornucopia of talents surrounding hir. In Trap Door’s hands it’s all about the telling and less about the tale, even as incredibly intriguing as the real story is.
When one considers the perfections of music, costume, sound design, acting, and more as a combination, it’s clear that Director Nicole Wiesner’s touch is the meta-talent that is power packing this play’s charm. For this writer, though, the best of the best is the choreography for which she shares credit with the entire cast. The secret society ensemble moves are a hoot; the break dancing competition that comes later even better.
Expect to be entertained, even if you barely follow the story line proper.
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.
Maryam Abdi, Dennis Bisto, Ty Easley, Bill Gordon, Miguel Long, Emily Lotspeich, Michael Mejia, Ann Sonneville, Keith Surney, Nora Lise Ulrey, and featuring David Lovejoy as D’eon.
Note: An excerpt of this review appears in Theatre in Chicago
Thru July 7
Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays at 8PM
Trap Door Theatre
1655 West Cortland Ave.
Chicago, IL 60622