Friday, February 10, 2012

Act Out-Rhino Fest at Prop Theatre: I Love You Permanently (review)

Last call for I Love You Permanently

The 24th Year of Rhino Fest is winding down this weekend.  Check out our prior coverage here, then duck on over to Rhino Fest's main site for the final line up.  They've put on some amazing shows already and there's an impressive line up for the next 3 days.

Last Friday, we had a chance to see Barrie Cole's endearing and amusing piece, I Love You Permanently.   There's one final showing tonight at 7:00pm, just in time for Valentine's Day.    Barrie Cole is a Chicago Mom to two young kids, and she's been a regular in the theatre scene for decades.   She's a fabulously insightful writer and actress, and an astute observer of human quirks and foibles.   This one's definitely not for the littles, with language and mature themes, but makes a great night out.   Barrie's semi-autobiographical piece is full of hurt and hope, and a joy to see.

I Love You Permanently follows a charmingly neurotic, single Mom's foray back into the dating world, with a nervous, OCD love interest who won't leave another pathological, abusive woman he's enmeshed with.   The verbal and theatre games, staged music man scene and ensuing different interpretations, and the spice gift box are a hoot.   Cole explores the convoluted turns taken by two people who have decided to live out an entire relationship in the span of one night together, with the only rule sex.   

There are true nuggets of brilliant insight on the human condition, and dating in particular, and enough challenges and obstacles to support a classroom full of acting students.   I particularly loved how cell phones on stage became part of a game as well as a distraction and a source of jealousy and conflict, much as they can be in modern day life.   I also enjoyed the over the top dance, offered as a gift, which fluctuated between hostile, clumsily seductive and melodramatic.  Allow me to express myself with interpretive dance, kept coming to mind.   As if the complicated relationship scenario isn't enough, the heroine isn't sure if she's attracted to men or women, and both characters are humping around a pile of past relationship baggage.   

Barrie also has a talent for creating real characters, who are so quirky and so laugh out loud funny, that the lines bend between laughing with them and laughing at them.   This show manages to be playful and painful at the same time.   The concept of little love bombs is ingenious, and the purpose of rebound lovers is spot on.   Check it out.

I Love You Permanently

Written by Barrie Cole
Directed by Eric Ziegenhagen

One winter night in a Chicago apartment, a near-miss of a couple plans to experience an entire relationship over the course of one evening. Reckless dancing, soul-baring, language rope-tricks, and song ensue. From Barrie Cole (Fruit Tree Backpack).
Featuring Amy Eaton and H.B. Ward

Enjoy the last 3 days of Rino Fest 24, Chicago's longest running fringe fest.

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