Chicago Theatre Review
‘Maple and Vine’ at Next Theatre: Cookbooks vs MacBooks
By Devlyn Camp
Look out, Stepford. There’s a new peculiar ‘50s warp in town. But unlike those films, in which wives are transformed into docile robots, these people voluntarily submit themselves to a secluded town that lives in a permanent 1955. Katha (Molly Glynn) and Ryu (Peter Sipla) give up their city apartment and technology-based life to live in the eerie suburban town in order to fix their marriage. Between scenes, a loving couple of town executives give the audience a tutorial on how to live within this new society. These random scenes are actually the funniest bits of the show, with quirky speeches that even convince the audience that maybe giving up the era of Apple and Internet would be soothing for the soul.
Through the rest of the play, Katha and Ryu experience the normal “what happens behind closed doors” story. The self-fulfillment they seek mirrors the same difficult situations they were encountering in normal 2011 life. But all the while, the play is not completely predictable. They see the world through a different perspective and it seems to make their own view clearer.
The acting is decent and the costumes are, of course, wonderful ‘50s era pieces. And although the show runs a bit long, there’s an interesting, unexpected quality of the present-day ’55 town. The modern characters dropped into this world present a more progressive view of the era. While Stepford satirizes the role of women, Maple and Vine offers furtive, powerful women. The odd little show has some interesting ideas and amusing characters. Although more of a drama, it’s actually a fun show with good brain teasing thoughts about how we grow together in time.
MAPLE AND VINE
Next Theatre Company
Through December 4th, 2011
Tickets $25-40, available at nexttheatre.org
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