By Richard Strand
Directed by Hans Fleischmann
At Red Twist Theatre, Chicago, IL
Things that make you go hmmmmm…..The Realization of Emily Linder.
Emily Linder (Kathleen Ruhl) had a premonition while in the hospital of when she was going to die, the time and the place and even when her funeral would take place.
The place: A cozy old fashioned living room with family pictures on the wall and we the audience are guests in her home (no late seating). Thirty-six cozy seats (try to sit in the front row—back row not so comfortable) are all part of this comedic drama of an aging woman, a wife, a mother and a retired university professor who is Emily Linder.
This is a story about growing old, reflecting on life, the importance of living day by day. It is about breaking old habits and forming new ways of thinking and living for the moment.
When Emily’s more successful attorney daughter Julie (KC Karen Hill) hires a hard head but warm hearted caretaker Jennifer (Stephanie Shum), overly emotional sister Margaret (Debra Rodkin) does all that she can do to deal. I get it! Sometimes you just need to walk away and not try and understand how people (relatives) think.
However, during this gathering the sisters come together to fulfill the last wishes of her mother. Writing the eulogy, writing the obituary, getting mom’s wedding dress cleaned, and of course getting balloons and helium for the celebration of life party (funeral).
This show takes an honest look at family dynamics, how a stranger can become a hero and reflecting on the emotions of aging and the desire to maintain dignity and control during the senior years.
Emily is a compelling, quirky and sarcastic lady and we desire to get to know more about what lies beneath all these layers. All of the characters are people we can relate with and do a great job! The second half of the show allows us to delve deeper into the characters while taking a few wild turns that will take you down a road to remember.
Sally Jo Osborne
Date Reviewed: April 9, 2016
Tickets range from $30 – $35 and may be purchased by calling the box office at 773-728-7529 or online at www.redtwist.org. For more information checkout The Realization of Emily Linder page at theatreinchicago.com
At the Redtwist Theatre 1044 W. Bryn Mawr, Chicago, IL (running time is 2 ours with one intermission, through May 8, 2016