Directed by Jessica Fisch
Produced by Feast Productions
As part of Jackalope Theater’s
At the Frontier Storefront, Chicago
Delightful rendition of the Scottish fairy tale unfolds in an intimate setting
The ambitious creatives who run Jackalope Theater Company, besides using the vast Broadway Armory, have established a cute small storefront venue on Thorndale Avenue around the corner from the Armory. They use The Frontier Theater to host their Pioneer Series of new works. They have partnered with Feast Productions to mount the world premiere of Shannon Pritchard’s Traces based on the Scottish ballad Tam Lin, an ancient Scottish faerie tale. Traces is hosted and narrated by the guitar-playing troubadour Patrick Budde, who introduces and sets the mood for the faerie tale of love.
Synopsis: “Jenny is a typical Chicago girl, but lately getting lunch from food trucks, seeing shows at iO and drinking PBR isn’t cutting it. Then she meets Tom at the Lincoln Park Farmer’s Market. Tom’s different, mysterious – and disappears after one perfect day. When Jenny discovers their night together left her with more than she bargained for, she sets out on an epic journey in search of answers. With her memories mysteriously hazy, Jenny retraces her steps through the Windy City sprawl. Inspired by the Scottish folk ballad Tam Lin, Traces is an urban faerie tale that questions when to let go, and when we should hold on.” – from the press notes.
Traces features Kristen Johnson as Jenny with the handsome and charming Will Kiley as Tom, Jenny’s love interest. This show is updated to a contemporary Chicago setting that works well. Playwright Shannon Pritchard blends the mythology of the faerie tale into a modern mystery as Jenny, after a magical day of meeting Mr. Right (including great sex) struggles to reconnect with Tom when necessity dictates. Sasha Smith and Maximilian Lapine play several roles that aid Jenny in her search for Tom. Stelle Martin plays Summer, Tom’s benefactor and ex-lover who has a plan to keep Tom by getting Jenny out of her way. This well written and equally well acted fable is enchanting, humorous and suspenseful. We empathize with Jenny’s search as we, ourselves, understand why when we meet that ‘right’ person, we want that experience to last a lifetime.
Traces is a gem of a show that has loads of heart with magical realism and much sardonic comments on modern urban life among the single set. Patrick Budde sets the proper tone while Kristen Johnson and Will Kiley have a marvelous stage chemistry that is winning. Stelle Martin, Sasha Smith and Maximilian Lapine each had fine moments. But director Jessica Fisch and playwright Shannon Pritchard are the real stars here as they combined to create a most worthy play. Traces is one of the finest world premieres I’ve witnessed in many a moon. Kudos to Feast Productions and Jackalope Theater for giving life to this outstanding new work.
Talk Theatre in Chicago podcast
Date Reviewed: March 14, 2105
For more info checkout the Traces page at theatreinchicago.com
At The Frontier, 1106 W Thorndale, Chicago, IL