Chicago Theatre Review
“Charles Ives” a Lovely Journey of Dribbles and Violins.
Charles Ives Take Me Home – Strawdog Theatre
Did you ever think you knew someone or something you loved well? Did you ever love someone who left too soon?
While I thought I knew more than rudimentary knowledge of modern composers, I was sadly mistaken, but pleasantly surprised. I was not familiar with the musical work of Charles Ives. Mr Ives is considered by some as a style maker for the modern music movement.
The play opens with Charles Ives (skillfully played by Jamie Vann) setting the table for the audience. He reminds us to turn off our electronic devices, but also suddenly brings us into the action. Introducing the audience to the main characters.
We begin with a simple father and daughter team. Mr. John Starr is a working musician. He plays the violin. We soon meet his daughter, Laura Starr. She is a basketball coach.
He is dedicated to his love of music and his daughter. He understands music quite well, his daughter, not so much. She challenges what he knows about her, about sports, and what he knows about music. He struggles between being a great father and being a great musician.
Composers Charles Ives enters John ‘Starr’s life when he studied at Julliard. He was able to have a master class with Mr. Ives. This changes his life, and Charles Ives becomes a mentor to John Starr of sorts.
As daughter, Laura grows up and moves into a the direction further from her father and closer to center court; they begin to drift further apart. One of the final clashes with her father happens when Laura decides she will go to school to be better in basketball. He just doesn’t understand why she would be a coach. In one pivotal scene, he tries to explain some musical terms. She emulates with basketball dribbles an sports analogies.
David Belden as John Starr, the father; and Stephanie Chavara as Laura Starr, the daughter, are amazing. They are both easy to watch, and dedicated to their performances. The evoke a pathos in the audience.
Reviewed by Lazlo Collins
Running until June 21
For tickets call 773-528-9696 or go to www.strawdog.org
For information about this and other shows go to www.theatreinchicago.com