BWW Review: MY THING OF LOVE First Rate at Sixty-six Theater Co,
My Thing of Love is an off-center black comedy about the down side of marriage and the pain of love. Written by award winning playwright Alexandra Gersten-Vassilaros and produced by the Steppenwolf Theatre in the 1990s, the play is a lesser known work and rarely produced. The Sixty-six Theater Co, has audaciously seized the moment and mounted a sterling presentation that will appeal to your twisted sense of humor now through May 18.
The one act starts on a typical morning where Elly (Liz Greig) and her husband Jack (Nick Dubberley) pick on each other over breakfast. On this particular morning Jack berates Elly for picking at her face and Elly responds by accusing him of having an affair. The couple have two little girls, already off to school, but children are not needed in the scene as the comotion created by the pair has enough steam to fuel a locomotive. The couple decide to see a therapist, a parish priest, but nothing changes; the sadness makes Elly unable to function properly and although still living under the same roof, they may as well separate or better still divorce. Then Kelly (Brittany Lewis), the other side of the triangle, pays a surprise visit to Elly to find out where she stands in the grande scheme of things. This happens on the same morning that new guidance counselor Mr. Garn (Thomas Schofield) pays a visit to the house to discuss daughter Kate's bad behavior in school. This is perhaps the funniest scene in the play. It's serious for crazed Kelly and of course, ultra serious for a parent/teacher conference. However, both these people are so out of sorts in their understanding of real human nature that we are moved to uproarious laughter. Bewildered Elly finds the strength to stand her ground and throws them fast and furiously from the house. The affair continues between Jack and Kelly, and when Elly catches them in the act, Kelly shrieks and squeals about her supposed rights as a third party.
Under director Paul Rush's smooth, even staging, the actors take control of the total freedom he allows them, to create distinct characterizations. True it is Gersten-Vassilaros' superb writing that moves the play forward, but the actors bring ferocity to the work. Greig is a marvel as Elly. We feel for her but never in a sympathetic way. Elly is a survivor despite her protests to the contrary, and Greig really brings out her strength and stamina in a luminous performance. Dubberley's Jack is a typical liar and cheater who is completely responsible for his demise and his partner's unhappiness. His is an equally fierce performance. Lewis makes Kelly a fractured mess who is beyond therapy. She is a joy to watch, as her emotions run high but she needs to tone down some of her screeching, for it is difficult at times to understand her. Schofield as Garn is over.the.top hilarious in his one delightful scene. Talk about being inadequate at your job! His little bouts of singing are obnoxious and simultaneously delicious. Schofield makes him unforgettable in a full out performance.
None of these people measure up to humane expectations. They are selfish and completely self-absorbed, except perhaps Elly...and how does the marriage stack up at play's end? Go see My Thing of Love through May 18 only! You'll be entertained and enriched by the writing, the direction and the superlative acting.