Review "50 WORDS": Describes Marriage Deconstruction with Shocking Intimacy

Audio Podcast at ITUNES 
Narrated by Joshua Volkers


Profiles Theatre presents
At 4147 N. Broadway


Written by Michael Weller
Directed by Joe Jahraus
Thursdays and Fridays at 8pm
Saturdays at 5pm and 8pm
Sundays at 7pm
Thru June 26th
Buy Tickets
Running Time:  Ninety minutes with no intermission.

Reviewed by Katy Walsh

What ends a marriage?  A shaky beginning?  A detached present?  A resigned future?
Does the couple even know?  Outsiders can’t possible fathom a relationship’s demise  because they weren’t there.  Until now!  Profiles Theatre presents the Midwest premiere of 50 WORDS.  When their nine year old has a sleepover, Adam cues up the old moves.  He picks up Chinese. He pops open champagne.  He gets nostalgic about their initial anonymous sex hook-up.  The practiced seduction doesn’t have the desired results.  Before they can make love, the couple must re-concoct their love story.  Childhood realities, career disappointments, personality flaws, it’s a lot of baggage to get from the kitchen to the bedroom.  Love and hate fuse with lust and violence setting off a series of implosions.  It’s a sexual mind-field.  50 WORDS stages a supercharged deconstruction of marriage that literally almost goes all the way.

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Playwright Michael Weller condenses a twenty-year love story into ninety-minutes of seismic activity.  The quaking goes from 3 to 9 on the Richter scale of emotional moments.  And just as the ground stops shaking, here comes the tsunami.  Under the direction of Joe Jahraus, both the fighting and the f#cking are shocking in-your-face intimate. Honest revelations of humanity are the hallmark of Profile Theatre. So not surprising, Darrell W. Cox (Adam) is solid as a husband struggling with love.  Cox masterfully exhibits a broad range of emotion.  From a calculated flirtation to an aggressive quickie to a mean-spirited reveal, Cox is authentically believable.  It’s a signature Darrell W. Cox role and who better to play Cox than Cox? The challenge then becomes who should play his leading lady. Katherine Keberlein (Jan) isn’t quite the match for Cox.  Although Keberlein does a fine job, her performance is stilted and dimensionless next to the Cox whirlwind of intensity.  The unevenness takes away from the marital strife.  

Weller creates a hearty relationship stew. Jahraus stirs the pot with fury.  Cox brings his trademark special seasoning.  50 WORDS peels back the onion for layers of civility, hostility, vulnerability, and insecurity.  And at the core is love.  Marital love is poignantly represented for its sting, stink and strength.  For those with relational woes, this show will connect with dicey angst.  For the hand-holding, smiling older couple across from me, 50 WORDS amused describing imperfect love perfectly.                      

Without need for 47 other ones, Tom describes the show with ‘intense, uncomfortable, unlikely.’

Production photography courtesy of Wayne Karl.

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