Directed by Ian Frank
At Redtwist Theatre, Chicago
Haunting drama about personal and societal takes on death of heroes
Utilizing every inch of Redtwist Theatre’s space, set designer Eric Luchen has vivid whites and extreme use of light to underscore the architect new husband of Marie (Jacqueline Grandt) – who lost her Fireman husband in the 911 attack. Add her well adjusted 15 year old son, Ned (Justin Burns) and her new doting husband Frank (Micheal Sherwin) and we have a relatively content family. It is 5 years after 911.
The play starts with a two person speech wherein Rhonda (Jan Ellen Graves) and Marie finish each other’s sentences as they expound about their husband’s deaths as firefighters in NYC. Marie’s man was a 911 hero while Rhonda’s man died in a house fire a year after 911. Both firefighters were heroes but the 911 fallen firefighters were given major hero status by government and by the public. Marie got several million and Rhonda received the normal adequate death benefits. Marie and Rhonda stay friends as each helps the other adjust to life after losing their husbands.
Rhonda is still alone but Marie has remarried the architect who designed her two-floor apartment. Frank is an understanding, kind man who loves Marie and supports Ned. The family seems adjusted until bones start arriving from the FBI as they attempt to discover and identify the elusive remains of the thousands of fallen victims of the 911 attack.
These bones set off Marie’s memories of her fallen husband. They keep coming every few days and a woman, herself a 911 widow, Stephanie (Annie Prichard), contact Marie about a possible mistake. She believes that she and Marie each got a bone in error – that Marie and Stephanie need to exchange a bone so that each will have the bone of their husband. Eventually, the two do the exchange and they become friends sharing their grief and their mutual fascination with accumulating the remains of their husbands. We witness the wine drinking daily visits as the two bond in an unhealthy fixation. Ned and Frank become affected as they try to get Marie to let go by burying the bones.
Frank has suspensions abut Stephanie’s authenticity and motives for visiting Marie daily. Is it jealousy or real concern? Is Stephanie using Marie for gain or for her personal fixation? I’ll not say more. Another Bone is a engrossing look at the struggle to move forward after a total devastation of a soul mate. Ir plays out as a plausible look at how we never totally let go of loved ones. It also shows how vulnerable we are if we fail to move forward-as, indeed, life goes on.
The depiction of the difference between society (and government) takes on the on-duty deaths of firefighters from ‘regular’ on-duty deaths and the super-hero depictions of the 911 loss of firemen is worth thinking about.
Another Bone is a fine new work worth seeing by a local Chicago playwright – Cathy Earnest. Jacqueline Grandt and Annie Prichard were terrific.
Date Reviewed: September 28, 2014
For more info checkout the Another Bone page at theatreinchicago.com
At Redtwist Theatre, 1044 W. Bryn Mawr, Chicago, IL, call 773-728-7529, www.redtwist.org, Thursday thru Saturdays at 7:30 pm, Sundays at 3 pm, running time is 2 hours, 10 minutes with intermission, through October 19, 2014