Articles tagged with: Joe Jahraus
Review: He’s Peter Pan to a collection of lost boys in the Neverland of an English woods, the Wizard of Oz beguiling these Munchkins with an endless supply of drugs and booze and empty intimations that this is as good as a happy home gets. Meet Johnny “Rooster” Byron, detached soul and intractable, irreducible anti-hero of Jez Butterworth’s play “Jerusalem.” His wholly credible embodiment by Darrell W. Cox at Profiles Theatre stands among the high points of the Chicago season. ★★★★
First in a series of season previews: Profiles Theatre opens its 27th season with an off-the-wall, grimly humorous, borderline surreal gem of a play fraught with wacky characters and murder, Beth Henley’s “The Jacksonian,” that might have been tailored expressly for this devoutly edgy company. It launches a lineup that finds Profiles in its high-intensity groove.
Role Playing: Lia D. Mortensen’s intense portrait of a mentally failing scientist holds mirror to life
Interview: A very hard personal experience helped actress Lia D. Mortensen get into the skin of the brilliant scientist she portrays in Sharr White’s play “The Other Place” at Profiles Theatre. She had watched her father, Dale T. Mortensen, winner of the 2010 Nobel Prize in economic sciences, suffer the mentally eroding effects of brain cancer, which took his life.
Review: Julianna knows that her husband, a doctor, is cheating on her. He sometimes slips and refers to a fellow physician – who has been consulting with Julianna about her episodes of disorientation, forgetfulness and anger – not as Dr. Teller, but as Cindy. That should tell you something. It’s plain enough to the betrayed wife, and she’s outraged. The mental decline and crash of this fiftyish woman, a biophysicist, is the substance of Sharr White’s play “The Other Place.” But it’s not the sum. Experiencing its totality, at Profiles Theatre, afforded one of the most rewarding nights in recent Chicago seasons. ★★★★★
Review: David Mamet’s eerie play “The Cryptogram” is the kind of stage experience that follows you home. Certainly in the wake of a hyper-intense account at Profiles Theatre directed Joe Jahraus, it continues to work on you, this brief, emotionally fraught and fractured tale of a little boy who’s so excited about a promised camping trip with his dad that he can’t sleep. For that matter, neither can his mother, or an old friend of the family who drops in. ★★★
Fourth in a series of season previews: With 25 years on the books and a second performing space established and offering new flexibility, Profiles Theatre heads into its second quarter-century this season with an opening production of resident artist Neil LaBute’s “Reasons to Be Happy.” Also on tap is the world premiere of Kate Walbert’s “Genius,” intertwining the secrets and alliances of two creative couples from different generations who find their lives changed at a dinner party.
Review: While it isn’t exactly a monodrama, Johnna Adams’ play “Gidion’s Knot,” about a mother looking for answers after her fifth-grade son kills himself, is a provocatively detailed – and less than flattering — portrait of the mom, with the only other character, the boy’s teacher, serving essentially as interlocutor. And Amy J. Carle’s performance at Profiles Theatre as the self-absorbed, reluctantly self-questioning mother is wrought with painful precision. ★★★
Second in a series of season previews: Profiles Theatre will mark its 25th anniversary this season by getting back to what co-artistic director Joe Jahraus calls the lean, mean style that has set this company apart. That’s lean as in Neil LaBute’s “Wrecks,” a one-actor narrative about the devastation of a man’s life wrought by the death of his wife, and mean as in Rhett Rossi’s “In God’s Hat,” which plays out through the taut, charged reunion of two estranged brothers when one of them is released from prison.
Interview: The central character Larry, an English teacher, in David West Read’s “The Dream of the Burning Boy,” is a smart, inspiring mentor to the kids around him. But when they need him as consoling father-figure, after one of their classmates dies, Larry can’t engage their pain or embrace them emotionally. For Darrell W. Cox, who delivers a wrenching portrait of the teacher at Profiles Theatre, such a closed-off, deeply complicated soul is the touchstone of great drama.
First in a series of season previews: Profiles Theatre will open its 24th season Aug. 24 with playwright Neil LaBute officially inducted into the family, a second performing space in use and a new mantra that crystalizes the company’s founding philosophy: “Whatever the truth requires.”
‘In a Forest, Dark and Deep.’ 4 stars!