Directed by Matt Miller
Produce by Pine Box Theatre
At the Second Stage (former Stage Left), Chicago
Riveting and authentic police procedural drama is a fabulous world premiere
My police background (formerly with the Chicago Police Department) and my love for police procedural novels, films and stage plays gives me a sophisticated eye for authenticity in police dramas. I easily see flaws and unrealistic elements that mare many stories but actor/playwright Joshua Rollins’ first full length play, A Girl With Sun In Her Eyes, is a masterpiece! It is one of the finest world premieres I’ve seen since Keith Huff’s A Steady Rain. Rollins’ work is flawless and so real it was scary. This action-packed mystery will keep you on the edge of your seat throughout its 85 minutes.
It is 6 am at a South Side Chicago police station and two detectives are frantically trying to find an undercover female police officer who has gone ‘missing’ for several hours. Detective Landy (Steve Pickering) is the raging, wound-too-tight cop determined to use any means to find his former partner including physical torture, if necessary. Together with an Internal Affairs detective, Goggins (Karen Aldridge), her self with an agenda with Landy and one for Lucy, the missing undercover cop, also works the investigation.
We see Landy and Goggins take turns interrogating the last person to see Lucy alive – William (Vincent Teninity in a terrific turn). We wonder if, how and why William could be involved in Lucy’s disappearance? Fueled by excellent staging that flashbacks to dramatize Lucy’s (Audrey Francis in a powerful performance) last hours. The action has strong fight choreography with smartly designed scenes that plant enough items and hints as to what actually happened and why it happened that we stay fully engaged in the mystery.
This raw police procedural has hints of the TV series The Shield but is much tighter written and more realistic as we see a man trying to answer the question about how far one would go to protect his life after making some poor decisions while out on a bender. We see the other suspect, Darnel (Sean Parris) has both motive and opportunity to harm Lucy. Did he do something to Lucy? We follow the interaction between William and Lucy as we finally get the resolution of this complicated story. This show is fast-paced and riveting. It’ll leave you blown away. A great cast of mostly Equity actors with tight direction by Matt Miller does justice to Joshua Rollins’ play. We see how a slight change of time can change the outcome of an event that can change a life forever. The gray areas that colors events are fully depicted in this expertly drawn mystery. Don’t miss this dynamic show. This play is the hit of the summer.
At the Second Stage Theatre, 3408 N. Sheffield, Chicago, IL, tickets $35, Thursday & Fridays at 8 pm, Saturdays at 5 & 8 pm, Sundays at 7 pm, running time is 85 minutes without intermission, through August 7, 2011