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Review: THE STORY OF MY LIFE at The Marcelle

New Line Theatre Begins Their 30th Season With An Intense Production About Words and Memory

Review: THE STORY OF MY LIFE at The Marcelle

Emerging from the pandemic for their 30th season, New Line Theatre is welcoming audiences back to live theater with The Story of My Life, an emotionally powerful two-hander about memory, friendship, individualism and, the power of words.

Set entirely in the mind of best-selling author Thomas Weaver, as he struggles to write a eulogy for his friend Alvin Kelby. Jettisoning a linear narrative for vignettes of emotional resonance, The Story of My Life finds him chronicling their first meeting before moving on to memories of Mark Twain, Frank Capra, and small-town adventures. These moments of passionate joy and intense sorrow, shared in adolescence and adulthood have shaped the character and personality of each person.

Although their relationship has frayed over time, both men realize the impact of the other in their lives. Sadly, it is Alvin's death that causes Thomas to revisit their past as he struggles to put pen to paper to celebrate the life of his friend.

Luckily for Thomas Alvin shows up to sift and search through the manuscripts and stories in Thomas' mind, guiding Thomas on an amazing journey through the memories of their complex friendship, forcing the author to realize that this trip through reminiscences is more about him and his life than he originally realized.

Serving as the anxious, neurotic, and playful Ying to Thomas' stiffer, and uptight Yang, Alvin is the typical 'one who stayed behind.' A force of kinetic energy, he's never left home, instead opting to stay and run The Writer's Block, a bookshop once owned by his father. Undeterred by his station in life, he is relentless in supporting his famous friend.

Thomas, on the other hand, is more adventurous. Having established a prolific writing career the playful adventurism of his youth has been replaced with stodgy and rigid professionalism that cause him to be emotionally stunted.

Even though many of his short stories are based on real-life happenings with Alvin, Thomas pulls him away from his best friend. Over time, letters remain unanswered, and plans to catch up are postponed, causing Alvin to feel alone and distressed. Despite his best intentions, Thomas' inaction has tragic repercussions.

Driven by 18 songs and raw emotion, Neil Bartram and Brian Hill's The Story of My Life is a memory play that cleverly uses the theater of the mind to toy with perceptions of the past to leave audiences emotionally drained.

Filled with moments of whimsy, innocence, laughter, melancholy, and loss, this sterling production stars Chris Kernan as Alvin alongside Jeffrey M. Wright as the uptight Thomas with artistic director Scott Miller framing the drama on keyboards. Watching Kernan and Wright feed off of each other is mesmerizing. Onstage their symbiotically linked performances overwhelm anything in their path. Working in tandem, each delivers a powerhouse performance.

After more than a year in darkness, New Line Theatre has again opened its doors to audiences hungry for a story about stories. Their season opener, the compelling and poignant The Story of My Life is every bit worth the wait. Directed by Scott Miller, with scenic design by Rob Lippert and lighting design by Kenneth Zinkl, The Story of My Life is a profoundly moving and simply stunning work of theater.

The Story of My Life is onstage at The Marcelle through October 23rd. For more information, visit

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From This Author - Rob Levy

Rob Levy is a St. Louis based writer, blogger, DJ and podcaster with extensive experience writing about theatre, opera, health, science, tech and popular culture for St. Louis Magazine, ALIVE ... (read more about this author)

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