Sunday, February 06, 2011

The Big Meal

Last night I saw The Big Meal at the American Theatre Co. with my play-buddies. It was absolutely amazing and I encourage anyone in the Chicago area to check it out.

A simple stage with a table or two and a number of chairs compose the stage, and actors sit in plain view behind this area waiting to come on, with small baskets of props by their sides. Time moves quickly in this play, and one of the things I loved about it is that the audience must be actively involved in watching it. The play tells the story of a couple and their extended family, told with only 8 main characters (and two waiters) at various stages in their lives. There are two kids, two people in their 20s, two in their late-30s, and two older folks. As the characters age, the actors switch roles, so each person may end up playing 3-4 roles in this multi-generational family. As people die, as they do, the audience and the actors have only moments to process their deaths, in a rather interesting bit of staging. Despite the complex characterization and quickly-moving storyline, the actors are so talented that each transition is seamless and smooth (I thought this was just incredible especially considering we were there for only the second preview!)

I have a feeling most people will walk away with their own impression of what the play's "about", but for me it was definitely an exploration of the definition of family - of what impact having children has, and how, even in a large family, the odds that you end up alone are pretty darn high. While it ended on kind of a down-note, I thought it was, above all: true - and that's what exceptional theatre is all about.

The Big Meal
American Theater Co.
1909 West Byron Street, Chicago
February 3-March 6


Anonymous said...

thank you so much for coming to support the show, and for the lovely review! it's always a joy seeing your face out in the audience :) L

dad said...

I so glad that you enjoyed the show. The way you describe it, reminds me of the place you took us in your old neighbor....That was fun!

dad said...

That was your old neighbor-hood..

Special K said...

what show, Big Daddy?