Directed by Robert Tobin
Produced by AstonRep Theatre Company
At Raven’s West Stage, Chicago
Powerful ending justifies family reunion in modern take on a Greek Tragedy.
At the water’s edge (nice set anchored with a mural of a lake and a shore by Jeremiah Barr), we meet Richard (Ray Kaspar), a middle aged man in joy about the beautify of the lake area he visits. He has his girlfriend, Lucy (Mary-Kate Arnold) with him. We next learn that the place was Richard’s home for many years and that he has been away from it for the past 17 years. Talented playwright Theresa Rebeck’s The Water’s Edge is a tightly drawn affair that starts rather mundane but gradually moves toward a tense change as deception rules.
The family reunion finds his too nervous son Nate (Tim Larson) tentatively welcoming his father’s return but the daughter Erica (Sara Pavlak) is extremely angry when her father returns after the long absence. Helen (Amy Kasper) appears agitated and quite sarcastic upon confronting Richard. She has an edge on her remarks toward Richard and his young girlfriend.
As the nervous family reunion unfolds, we learn that Helen still blames Richard for the death of their daughter as he negligently let the child run near the water where she drowned. Helen drove Richard to leave the area after that incident. Nate and Erica became smothered by Helen as she was determined to not lose another child. The results deeply effect the children especially upon Nate.
At the reunion dinner, it seems that Nate and Erica are beginning to bond with Richard while Helen seems to also slightly warm to Richard’s charm. But the family is quite worried about losing their home and land as Richard informs them that he desires to live in the cottage on the lake.
The drama builds into a tensely shocking twist that leads to a stunning climax. Amy Kasper’s performance emerges from mild sarcasm to blinding rage as her vengeance explodes toward Richard. She was outstanding here as was Tim Larson and Sara Pavlak as the siblings. The result changes the relationship between all members of the family. Nate and Erica realize that their lives have been formed by the actions from 17 years ago. The last few scenes will have you on the edge of your seat. This is a terrific show filled with surprises and fine performances.
Talk Theatre in Chicago podcast
Date Reviewed: September 28, 2013
For more info checkout The Water’s Edge page at theatreinchicago.com
At Raven Theatre’s West Stage, 6157 N. Clark, Chicago, IL, call 773-828-9129, www.astonrep.com, tickets $20, Thursdays , Fridays 7 Saturdays at 8 pm, Sundays at 3pm, running time is 2 hours with intermission, through October 26, 2013