Before he came out to his parents, my friend Dirk went out of his way to impress them. He had a beautiful job, beautiful home, beautiful clothes. When he heard they were coming to visit Chicago, he asked ME if I knew any beautiful girls that would fit into his beautiful life.
Sideshow Theatre Company presents THE UGLY ONE. Lette is planning to present his new scientific discovery at the international convention. He is startled to learn his assistant has been booked in his place. When Lette confronts his boss, he learns the truth. Lette is ugly! His wife confirms the work evaluation. Lette is ugly! Lette had no idea. When he looked into the mirror, he saw his face… his identity. Until his boss, his wife, his world told him that he was hideous and deformed, Lette believed he was attractive. Now that he knows that he is repulsive, he decides that he must change. Lette has transformational surgery. Now, he is beautiful! And everybody wants him or wants to be him or both. THE UGLY ONE is hideously funny and pretty profound.
Playwright Marius Von Mayenburg wrote the ugly little truth. Society defines how people perceive themselves. Their appearance is correlated to their value. Von Mayenburg (and translator Maja Zade) captures this unattractive side of human nature in a beautifully entertaining fable. Set Designer Joe Schermoly houses the show in a sleek and elegant cutout boxed frame. The stark whiteness pops in Oracle’s traditional small dark theatre. Lights up… and I’m talking the bright florescent kind that no one looks good under… help transition from office to operating room. Designers Mac Vaughey (lighting) and Christopher M. LaPorte (sound/composition) add the perfect ambiance for the fanciful farce.
Under the playful hand of Director Seth Bockley, the show is a tight whirlwind of activity. All four of the talented ensemble remain on the stage for the duration. Playing multiple parts, they morph into another identity with a tie, glasses or fur stole. The personality makeovers add to the cheeky amusement. Sometimes, the actor strolls into the other role and other times, they climax to it. Nina O’Keefe, Fred Wellisch and Nate Wheldon are impressive and hilarious! Robert L. Oakes (Lette) is the ugly one and later the handsome one. Oakes endears as a man struggling with society inflicted self-loathing. His convoluted conversation with himself is incredibly powerful.
THE UGLY ONE digs deep into a superficial world. Where is the line between being ugly and being beautiful? THE UGLY ONE is relatable and thought-provoking. We have all experienced feeling ugly. We have all made someone else feel ugly. It’s what we do next that defines our true nature.
Running Time: Sixty-five minutes with no intermission.
At Oracle Theatre, 3809 N. Broadway
Written by Marius Von Mayenburg
Translated by Maja Zade
Directed by Seth Bockley
Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays at 8pm
Sundays at 3pm
Thru November 20th