Interrobang Theatre Project
OUT OF LOVE
by Elinor Cook
directed by Georgette Verdin,
August 16 - September 14, 2019
Review by Ruth Smerling
PLAYWRIGHT ELINOR COOK PROVES THAT CHILDHOOD IN ENGLAND IS JUST AS TRAUMATIC AS CHILDHOOD HERE IN THE INTERROBANG TENTH SEASON OPENER OUT OF LOVE
Interrobang Theatre Project has chosen “No man’s land” as the theme for its tenth season and opens with British playwright Elinor Cook’s stark look at the push and pull and give and take and take of a lifelong friendship. She proves that childhood is just traumatic across the pond as it is here in the US of A, with a tale of “trust, betrayal, loyalty and humiliation.”
Ensemble members Sara Gise and Laura Berner Taylor are Lorna and Grace respectively. They live in a small in the northeast of England which is beautifully audible thanks to the work of dialect coach extraordinaire Elise Kauzlaric. It is unclear if set designer Sotirios Lavaditis was trying to create land hurtled by approaching waves or an earthquake, everything is very lopsided and unbalanced. Once the girls are introduced, on cannot help think of a seesaw, with one plank high above the other and suspended without a clue as to when it will be let back down to terra firma. Grace is tough and unsupervised. But Lorna is from an affluent home and is expected to exercise a more proper decorum. She’s hurting because her parents’ marriage is on the rocks. Grace subtly dominates and takes her mind off of her rocky home life by quickly moving Lorna into more reckless circles which she manages to hide from her mum and daddy. As they go through grade school and Grace subjects Lorna to the rigors of pranking, lying to boys about her and all kinds of other mayhem, they still remain friends. When they start dating it gets roughest, Lorna seems to be breaking off from her, as she attracts a better class of guys, and Grace is jealous. The balance of the relationship shifts constantly, with Grace always jockeying for the dominant position.
Peter Greta’s has the daunting role of playing all the men in the girls’ lives. Father, teacher, boyfriend, boyfriend, total jerk. He plays them all. He’s charming and personable, but a male figure never seems to rise high enough to the girls to sever their friendship. Any man who thinks he can get between them has to answer to Grace. They are in a lifelong tug of war with each other until Lorna becomes sensible enough to realize that she may have more to grasp onto than a need to manipulate someone into being her friend.
Interrobang Artistic Director Georgette Verdin loves this play because “Out of Love” explores one formidable friendship between two women over three decades. Cook’s non-linear snapshots reject the typical portrait of life-long friendship for one that is messy and achingly truthful.” Verdin is thrilled to bring this play to audiences because “Cook bravely exposes the underbelly of childhood by spotlighting uncomfortable corners where the embarrassing and cruel transpire. She invites us to reckon with our own versions of these dark tales and our own fraught friendships.
Out of Love is an intense 75 minutes without intermission and runs through September 14 at the Rivendell Theatre, 5779 North Ridge Avenue. Tickets are available at interrobangtheatreproject.org or by phoning 312-219-4140. Out of Love is a haunting coming of age story about the influences that create a sense of value that can help or harm an innocent young person in later life.