Adapted by Francis Limoncelli
Directed by Ann Boyd
At Lifeline Theatre, Chicago
Bizarre, perplexing and wholly unique allegory deftly performed
Lifeline Theatre, specializing in adapting novels for the stage, finds adapter Frances Limoncelli putting her magic spin on Rachel Ingalls’ 1986 novel-Mrs. Caliban. “In my books, I like to play with convention.” -Rachel Ingalls
This refreshing and thoroughly enticing drama is part magical realism, part fable and part fantasy. It plays out like a blend of science fiction and contemporary minimalistic realism. The real and surreal blend into a chilling tale.
Dorothy (Brenda Barrie) is locked in a lifeless marriage of empty domestic ritual with her husband, Fred (Dan Granata) until a fugitive from another world-Larry (Peter Greenberg) arrives on her doorstep. With him, she finds forbidden love and experiences a rebirth of her spirit, as she learns to question her assumptions about the world. Dorothy wonders on a whimsical and heartbreaking journey as she dares to live — and love — unconventionally, in this remarkable drama acclaimed as one of the greatest post-war American novels. Brenda Barrie is quite effective as the understated yet thrill-seeking women. Is she acting out delusional thoughts from the stress of losing her child and her dog? Is this story a dream or real?
Peter Greenberg, in full green skin, is the weirdly likable amphibian-man who has become a semi-human after being held for scientific research. Dorothy and Larry (the name give him by his captures) enter into a sensual world of lust and wonderment.
Mrs. Caliban unfolds as a bizarre love story as we wonder what will happen next to both Larry and Dorothy? So suspend your disbelief a tad more and enjoy the intoxicating unconventional world of Mrs. Caliban thinly disguised as a realistic drama. This show is worth seeing.
At Lifeline Theatre, 6912 N. Glenwood Ave., Chicago, IL, call 773-761-4477, www.lifelinetheatre.com, tickets $30, $25 seniors, $15 for students and rush tickets) Thursdays and Fridays at 7:30 pm, Saturdays at 4 & 8 om, Sundays at 4 pm, running time is 2 hours, 10 minutes with intermission.