A World Premiere.
By Nancy Nyman & Heather McNama.
Directed by Diana Raiselis.
Produced by Pride Films & Plays.
At Rivendell Theatre, Chicago.
Clever Victorian thriller delivers from unique secret.
Pride Films & Plays found an interesting drama that is both an LGBT drama and a cleverly plotted thriller in Resolution. It is a fast paced yet provocative discussion of oppressing moral viewpoints. Set in 1892 but contemporary issue orientated, Resolution is thought-provoking and smartly crafted.
African-American New York City high-society couple, husband Jack (Tiffany Mitchenor) and wife Hannah (Aneisa Hicks) live the good life that money and social standing make possible, Jack is an attorney and Hannah runs their fine home. This couple are affable and generous with a social conscious. They are full members of New York high society. They treat their household staff with respect and generosity. But from the play’s opening, we wonder about Jack as he comes off as effeminate but we give him the benefit of doubt. Their dedicated housekeeper Margaret (Amber Synder), a staunch Irish-Catholic knows her place as Hannah tries to be friendlier that an employee-employer relationship as Hannah yearns for another friend.
It is New Year’s Eve and Jack and Hannah decide to stay at home to celebrate the new year. They give the staff, including Hannah, the rest of the day off including New Year’s Day. Hannah is given a cash bonus in an envelope just before her husband Harrison (Edward Fraim) arrives to take her home. The two couples have a drink to celebrate the new year. After Margaret and Harrison depart, Hannah discovers that Margaret forgot her bonus envelope. She put the envelope on the drink stand where Margaret will easily find it when she returns to work.
So, with all the help gone, Jack can dress as a woman and enjoy his loving wife. In these romantic loving scenes, we see that true love prevails between Jack and Hannah.The tender scene that finds Hannah trying to impersonate a man, with Jack showing how to sit, walk and gesture like a man was precious. True love flows in this home!
As Jack is now dressed as a woman during his identify role-reversal game with Hannah (now wearing Jack’s pants), Margaret sneaks into the house to retrieve her bonus envelope. When she sees that the couple are not what they seem to be. She shutters as she hides until she can escape after she retrieves her bonus.
Margaret returns the next day to confront the loving couple. In Victorian New York in 1892, a lesbian couple would not be tolerated. Margaret’s conservative Catholic mortality seems to dictate that she turns in the couple to the authorities. The next scenes contain debate between Margaret and Jack and Hannah with Harrison trying to convince Margaret to keep silent. In this morality play, only sexual identity is debated. Race is wisely not an issue here as the debate is about the nature of love and marriage.
The plot twists that resolve the dilemma are both plausible and well executed. The lessons here are still being played out in 21st century America. Resolution is a well crafted drama that is both a morality play and a thriller. Amber Snyder as Margaret and Tiffany Mitchenor as Jack were particularly effectively. This work is worth seeing.
Date Reviewed: October 24, 2016.
For more info checkout the Resolution page at theatreinchicago.com.
At Rivendell Theatre, 5779 N. Ridge, Chicago, IL, call 800-737-0984, www.pridefilmsandplays.com, tickets $25, Thursdays -Saturdays at 7:30 pm, Sundays at 3 pm, running time is 75 minutes without an intermission, through November 20, 2016.