Creditors

 

By August Strindbergremy bumppo theatre

In a new version by David Greig

Directed by Sandy Shinner

Produced by Remy Bumppo think theatre

At the Greenhouse Theatre, Chicago

Fresh take on August Strindberg’s 1888 tragicomedy is fueled by three excellent performances.

Utilizing David Greig’s streamlined version of the classic 1888 August Strindberg’s Creditors, director Sandy Shinner has cast three expert actors to tell the psychological drama where the power of suggestion can fuel mistrust. Adolph (Gabriel Ruiz) is the younger husband of Tekla (Linda Gillum). he is a painter/sculpture artist who is passive toward his aggressive wife who loves to go out evenings while Adolph works at creating his art.

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While at a seaside hotel, Adolph meets Gustav (Mark L. Montgomery) who presents himself as a doctor who easily becomes a person to confide with.  Adolph opens up to Gustav about his wife confiding about their sex life, the nature of their relationship and his concerns about Tekla’s fidelity. We see how Gustav uses the power of suggestion and his apparent status as an authority figure to feed the seeds of doubt into Adolph’s mind which is already worried about his wife.

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The first half of this tight 90 minute play is filled with Gustav’s verbal manipulation of Adolph’s fears that finds the artist spilling out his most intimate details,fears and apprehensions to Gustav. These scenes demonstrates the skillful power acting from Mark L. Montgomery and Gabriel Ruiz as the two are locked into an emotional psychological series of insights designed to help Adolph stay health and prevent epilepsy. The cure is no sex with Tekla for a year! Adolph is torn  by this radical suggestion but his doubts concerning the trustworthiness of Tekla.

Gustav sends Adolph to a walk about the island to think over his recommendations while he awaits Tekla return to the hotel. We learn that Gustav is Telka’s ex-husband. We also see how he has plotted his revenge by his attempt to destroy the marriage between Adolph and Tekla. The meeting  with Tekla sparks lust between the two ex’s. The psychological games move to another level as the formidable seductive powers of Tekla become a match for Gustav persuasiveness. Will Adolph be destroyed by these encounters?  See this show and all will be revealed.

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I must say that David Greig’s version of Strindberg’s Creditors has a contemporary feel as the smart dialogue and emotions, with the sexual undertones,  makes for a most engaging evening of theatre. Humor masks some of the mind games and the subtext of raw lust is just beneath the surface. This is a marvelous play that look gorgeous with the white curtained set (design by Jeffery Bauer) and the period perfect costumes (designed by Jeremy W. Floyd) each add to the tone of the show. But, Mark L. Montgomery is particularly effective as the determined revenge-seeking Gustav.  This play is special and it deserves an audience.

Highly Recommended

Tom Williams

Talk Theatre in Chicago podcast

Date Reviewed: April14, 2013

For more info checkout the Creditors page at theatreinchicago.com, running time is 90 minutes without an intermission, through June 2, 2013