Savage In Limbo

By John Patrick Shanley

savage in limbo
Savage in Limbo

Directed by Jacque Lueken

Produced by Village Players

Production needs choices, but opts to stay in limbo

Village Players Theater is utilizing the studio space for more cutting edge plays. The theme of this season is “Women on the Cutting Edge”; plays either written by women, or women are the central characters. I am happy to see Village Players giving women a voice onstage, but this production shows more potential than stage worthiness.

John Patrick Shanley is best known, by non-theatre connoisseurs, for Moonstruck and Doubt (for which he won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama). Savage In Limbo is more akin to the former than the latter. The play takes place in real time in a dive bar, where the bartender has zero tolerance for loitering. The bar has regulars, all desperately seeking for connection. Denise is a 32-year-old virgin, as well as the play’s protagonist. Denise is yearning to gain a companion, and lose her virginity. Her friend Linda foils Denise in not wanting to be alone, but has used sex as a means to be loved.

The cast ranges from adequate to good, which is dangerous in a play this complicated. Shanley writes characters with tough as nail exteriors, but uses poetic language to lament. However, the actors had no concept to what they are saying, so it varied from aimless yelling to fighting to get to the end of sentence in one breath. The one stand out member of the cast was the underutilized Johnny Mineo. He acted with such conviction that he took a moment that could have been uncomfortable, and made it the touching highlight of the production. I feel the fault of this production falls in the hands of director Jacque Lueken. The blocking was meaningless and did not tell the story, and the pacing was equally mundane. The design was minimal, but (for the most part) effective. However, the lighting design hit the audience over the head with abrupt fades and bumps.

I see a lot of promise in the programming of the intimate space at Village Players. However, I do not feel Savage In Limbo is a production worthy of a $20 ticket.

NOT RECOMMENDED

Reviewed by Chris Arnold

Savage In Limbo performs Thursday-Saturday at 7:30pm, and Sunday at 2:30pm at Village Players Performing Arts Center; 1010 Madison St, Oak Park IL. The theater is near the Harlem exit of I-290 and is also accessible by the CTA Green and Blue lines. Plenty of parking is available. Tickets are $20 for adults, $15 for seniors over 65 and students with a valid ID. Group rates are available for parties of six or more. Thursday and Sunday are 2-for-1. For tickets and more information call 866-764-1010 or visit www.village-players.org. Through February 21.