Theatre ReviewsTom Williams

Becoming Ingrid

By Liza Lentini

Becoming Ingrid
Becoming Ingrid

Directed by Jamie Stires

Produced by Rubicon Theatre Project

At Stage Left Theatre

Intriguing new work a discourse on creative passion

Rubicon Theatre Project presents a World Premiere of Liza Lentini’s drama, Becoming Ingrid that is a most intriguing adventure into the creative world of writing.  This is a smart, mysterious work that finds two characters–the lovable impressionistic Christine (the charming Meg Harkins) and her idol, Ingrid (April Pletcher) each striving to find their muse. This well written drama ambitiously weaves elements of mystery with character sketches on top of a discourse on the creative writing process and the search for a voice and a passionate force with which to create art.

April Pletcher, Jessica Thigpen, Billy Fenderson, Meg Harkins photo by Rory Tanksley

Christine and her husband move to Scotland–him for work her to  be near her idol.  Christine is on an obsessive quest to be close to her novelist mentor. Christine needs to be taught and inspired by the famous Ingrid. Ingrid has writers’ block and is involved in a worthless relationship with a painter.  She escapes into teaching writing at a Scottish college. Christine enrolls in Ingrid’s class.

Heidi Katz, Meg Harkins and Jeff Taylor photo by Rory Tanksley

Christine narrates with the fervor of as aspiring writer throwing in tidbits of writing technique as she humorously channels her obsession with Ingrid. Christine’s determination motivates Ingrid in unique ways that seem to unclog Ingrid’s writing block.  This work slyly yet effectively unfolds as a mystery as we gradually see what haunts Ingrid. Christine learns more about herself and her marriage while pursuing her muse. Both Christine and Ingrid unwittingly are forced to deconstruct their views of love, happiness, and the creative process.

April Pletcher and Meg Harkins photo by Rory Tanksley

Becoming Ingrid is a funny, smart and most cleverly plotted work that smoothly unfolds on several levels. It is Christine’s story yet it is also Ingrid’s. The relationship between these two women sparks deep passions in both as each learn more than technique and inspiration from each other. This is a subtle, charming and uplifting work that deftly injects the influences from one’s muse.  We see that collaboration can lead to mutual lessons for both the teacher and the student. Liza Lentini has a refreshing take on passion and the creative process. She demonstrates her talent with Becoming Ingrid. Meg Harkins’ charm and genuine honesty wins us easily. April Pletcher most effectively guards her secret agony.  Becoming Ingrid grew on me as it slowly builds into an intelligent discourse. This show is a little gem that reinforces by belief that loads of fine theatre can be found in Chicago storefront productions.


Tom Williams

At Stage Left Theatre, 3408 N. Shefield, Chicago, IL, call773-466-`835, tickets $10 – $20, Thursdays thru Sundays at 7;30, running time is 2 hours, 10 minutes with intermission.

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