"Elsewhere" (Side Project Theatre): Gender Equality Cloaked in Mascara, Booze and Cigarettes

"Elsewhere" (Side Project Theatre):  Gender Equality Cloaked in Mascara, Booze and Cigarettes

Reviewed by Sara Eisenbaum

Quite literally a hop, skip, and a jump from my doorstep is the Side Project Theater. No bigger than a Chicago style bedroom, the experience is more like the family reunion scene in “Dan in Real Life” where one can sigh a feeling of comfort and let down their stiff upper theatre lip. The production, directed by Adam Webster, is shown like many one act plays that are spliced together. While it’s clear that dysfunctional relationships are the mainstay of each minute clip of the play, the most thought provoking moment comes near the end in a one of a kind dissection of human nature and how it’s been polluted by societal norms of ‘right vs wrong.’ The play lacked depth at times, although i’m not convinced that this wasn’t the effect that the director desired in a shot at manufactured familial awkwardness that had most audience members nodding along. What turned out to be one of the most fascinating portions of the performance was actually a handout given before the play began that described in depth many of the 60’s era references that were made. Scenes presented were very ‘Mad Men’ esque and when the characters were trying to throw in hints at the time period some explanation was needed for the younger folks in the crowd. Robert Tenges (playwright) set about intermixing a political era drama with a rousing look at the dynamics of women and men in a time when gender equality was heavily cloaked in mascara, booze, and cigarettes. The taste left in my mouth at the end of the play was one of wonder, and I suppose that is a sign that it left an impression on me although i’m still trying to figure out what that impression is?

Running Time:  90 minutes without an intermission

At The Side Project, 1439 West Jarvis Avenue, Chicago

Written by Robert Tenges

Directed by Adam Webster

Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 pm; and Sundays at 3 pm.

Thru April 21st

For more information, visit www.thesideproject.net

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