Thursday, May 5, 2011

A Twist of Water at the Mercury Theater

“Chicago has always been about the water” is a line uttered at the end of “A Twist of Water” by Stef Tovar and though out this love letter to Chicago you realize our home is so much more then just the water. It's a city of dreams, hope, resilience, a city that every time it's knocked down picks itself up, dusts itself off and says look at me I'm back. Which the same can be said for Route 66 searing beautifully done production of this original play that re-opened last night also at the re-opened Mercury Theater now under the Executive Director L. Walter Stearns who himself just opened up his final production at Porchlight Musical Theatre Chicago the wonderful “The King and I.” running though June 5th.

Route 66 Theatre Company's Artistic Director Stef Tovar as Noah, a gay widowed history teacher explains to his students the origins of Chicago. “He wants them get a sense of history, a sense of family and unity and in this marvelous original play we get the same feeling.

You see Noah is raising his adopted daughter Jira played with intensity by Falashay Pearson. Jira like most 16 year olds is angry at her father for everything but mostly because her other father passed away within the past year and she uses Noah as an outlet for that anger. Jira needing more of a sense of family at the loss of her current is seeking out her birth mother. To complicate matters for this family Noah has started a friendship with a fellow teacher played with a deadpan comedic brilliance by Alex Hugh Brown who is also at the beginning stages of a relationship with Noah and Jira's English teacher.

This story is told beautifully by playwriter Caitlin Montanye, directed with emotional truth by Erica Weiss and featuring a stunning realistic performance by Stef Tovar, who finds truth in his performance thought out the show.

It's rare to find a play that speaks so honestly and truthfully of the city, of an inhabitants, the history, and of love and finds such a poetic way that doesn't feel forced but this show finds it and delivers it in a way that will knock you out. This is simply a must see for anyone in Chicago as for it's as much a love letter to this city as any building, park, or sports team.

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