#123. My great aunt Meme use to talk to our dog. And maybe more disturbing, she seemed to hear a response. These conversations always struck me as a little crazy. I vowed never to grow up and have imaginary banter with nonhumans. But living alone changes everything. Sometimes, silence needs to be interrupted. Sometimes, hearing a familiar voice -even if its yours- is comforting. So every morning, I greet my coffee pot with the enthusiasm of a reunited war buddy.
Walkabout Theatre presents the Chicago premiere of CROW. Donald Crowhurst is a businessman, weekend sailor and big-time dreamer. In 1968, he enters a contest to sail around the world. Crowhurst is ambitious, arrogant and admirable. He has a dream and he chases it… across the globe. Alone with his thoughts, the weather and Einstein’s theory of relativity, Crowhurst begins to lose it. He intellectualizes his every move. His journey becomes a fabrication of his own design. As the folks back home await his successful arrival, Crowhurst rationalizes his options. CROW is a one man voyage and quite the head trip.
“What separates hope from delusion? And what is the transformative power of ambition?” Powerful questions asked by performer and playwright Jeremy Sher. In his one man depiction of Crowhurst’s historic odyssey, Sher is a terrific combo of Hanks in “Castaway”, Crowe in “A Beautiful Mind” and Roy Rogers doing rope tricks. Under the skillful direction of Scott Bradley, Sher’s performance captivates. In one moment, his monologue sounds sensibly logical. Later, his passionate conviction starts unraveling. Visually, Sher shows us the tangled Crowhurst mess. Using a plethora of ropes, Sher compulsively continues to check and connect lines across the stage. Sher conjures up the illusion and delusion of turbulent sailing. The design team (Mac Vaughey-lighting, Liviu Pasare-video, Sher-sound) navigate the story through the stormy waters. Audio and video projections of rain and telegraph messages escalate the drama. Sher pulls me on to this boat and into Crowhurst’s head.
Sher has a lot to crow about in this one man show. He handles the intense physical and emotional demands like a sailing pro. CROW is a thought-provoking journey into the web of deception. The lies that we tell ourselves can make us lose our way. And then what do we do to get back on course? This was a profound trip, indeed. Sher rocks this boat!
Running Time: Eighty-five minutes with no intermission
At Victory Gardens Theater, 2433 N. Lincoln
Written by Jeremy Sher
Directed by Scott Bradley
Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays at 8pm
Sundays at 3pm
Thru June 17th
Buy Tickets at www.walkabouttheater.org
Production photograph courtesy of Emma Stanton.