#122. Once upon a time, I had a my whole life planned. At age six, I was going to marry Chris Scalise and become a ballerina. At age fourteen, I was going to marry Steve Dibley and become a teacher. At age twenty-two, I was going to marry Bill Hodges and become a public defender. At age thirty, I was going to move to Chicago and get a life. Only one of these scenarios came to fruition.
Chicago Dramatists presents a world premiere I AM GOING TO CHANGE THE WORLD. At age nine, John wrote his life plan. He defined his career and personal milestones. The list guided his life work until age thirty-five when he would peak with corporate domination. Well on his 35th birthday, John woke up in his parents’ basement . What happened? I AM GOING TO CHANGE THE WORLD starts out inspirational and explodes into a deconstruction of a dream.
I am going to be intentionally vague about this plot. I found the first act absolutely riveting. Playwright Andrew Hinderaker places breadcrumbs all over the place and I eagerly follow his trail of intrigue. The first scene has a passionate Nicholas Harazin (John) delivering a powerful graduation speech. I loved this commencement address written by Hinderake. It talked about not wanting to look back and regret life. Harazin forceful indicates that he doesn’t want to end up questioning “What did I do with all that time?” This motivational message turns profoundly poignant in the very next scene. Under the skillful direction of Jonathan Berry, Harazin, Norm Woodel (Frank) and Meg Thalken (Marla) unite and divide as a triangulated family. The sublime trio deliver heartbreaking discontent. The house of angst gets a respite by frequent visits from Ed Flynn (Troy). Channeling Seth Rogan, a charming Flynn brings plenty of laughter. The first act climaxes with a video montage of history (designed by Mike Tutaj) that expands from the backdrop screen to cover the entire set. Wow! Going into the intermission, I’m completely fixated on John’s life and how it should play out.
Art imitating life. Life imitating art. The second act doesn’t go where I thought it would. It shifts. It’s becomes less “Ground Hog Day” and more “Girl Interrupted.” It loses the unexplainable mysticism for diagnosable reality. Awww, John! I’m sorry that Hinderaker did that to you. I recommend I AM GOING TO CHANGE THE WORLD. But if I could change one thing, I’d change the second act.
Running Time: Two hours includes an intermission
At Chicago Dramatists, 1105 W. Chicago
Written by Andrew Hinderaker
Directed by Jonathan Berry
Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays at 8pm
Sundays at 3pm
Thru July 1st
But Tickets at www.chicagodramatists.org/box-office