By Jenny Schwartz
Directed by Krissy Vanderwarker
Produced by Dog & Pony Theatre Company
At the Viaduct Theatre
“I could make you my famous omelet. Although I’d rather not break any legs.”— Mel from God’s Ear
Jenny Schwartz’s God’s Ear is a stylistic, experimental work that deals with the grieving process. Mel (Faith Noelle Hurley) and Ted (Luke Hatton) have lost
their ten year old son in a drowning accident. Together with their six year old daughter Lanie (Teeny Lamothe), the family’s grief makes them almost comatose as they struggle to resume their daily lives. Ted travels on business and stays away for long stretches. Mel sits motionless and Lanie plays and asks Mel questions of which Mel can’t seem to answer.
Utilizing a simple white runway set with only two benches, God’s Ear unfolds as a depressing exercise in psychological fantasy that has Ted and Mel hallucinating as they struggle to cope with a child’s death. Using twisted language, wordplay, poetry and rhythm chants, Ted and Mel recite, almost babble, several meaningless monologues that drone on. So many free-flowing words, so little meaning. Might as well recite the phone book. There is a long list of clichéd figures of speech and repetitious questions and answers in this absurdist work.
Ted fantasizes and is visited by a transvestite Flight Attendant (Mike Trehy) and seems to have an affair with Lenora (Gina D’Ercoli) who also spouts on with a long monologue. Lanie and Mel are visited by The Tooth Fairy (Elizabeth Levy) and GI Joe (Mike Trehy). Guy (Jeff Fisher) meets Ted on his travels and wants to exchange his wife for Ted’s. There are 4-5 songs included here with meaningless lyrics poorly sung. I’m not sure that this theatrical experiment works as a fantasy on grieving. Fans of Caryl Churchill and Richard Maxwell will enjoy this show. Those who love quite different stylized productions with rapid linguistic elements will find much to enjoy. Since I crave a more linear dramatic style, I found God’s Ear 95 minutes of tedium.
At the Viaduct Theatre, 311 N. Western Ave., Chicago, IL, call 773-296-6024, tickets $20 – $15 students/seniors, Thursdays thru Saturdays at 8 pm, Sundays at 5 pm, running time is 95 minutes without intermission.
[mappress address=”311 N. Western Ave., Chicago, IL : Dog and Pony Theatre Company” ]