EXTENDED THRU April 10 Review D.O.A. (Strawdog Theatre): Hugen Hall’s Grand Finale

Thursday, March 10, 2016 Permalink

STRDOA1Hugen Hall of Strawdog Theatre Company presents the World Premiere adaptation of D.O.A.

The room is dark. The door opens. A bright light silhouettes a character in the doorway.  The posed person then struts into the smoky room. Each cast member makes an entrance like it’s a 1950s film noir fashion show. It’s the last production ever in this Hugen Hall space.  And from the start, this show gives the room a grand finale.

Adapter and Director Elizabeth Lovelady brings the classic Rudolph Maté film to life. In dramatic style, Mickey O’Sullivan stumbles into a police station to report a murder, his own.  The show is the fatal flashback of O’Sullivan’s last 24 hours. We are tethered to this mystery immediately as O’Sullivan starts at the ordinary beginning of yesterday. He and his secretary Megan Skord (Paula) are having a lover’s spat over his plan to go to San Francisco. Throughout the show, a melodramatic Skord pops up in ongoing I-hate-you-I-love-you rants. The old-fashioned histrionic add a twinge of humor while tangling this yarn. Their relationship is another piece of the puzzle because we don’t know in the beginning O’Sullivan’s true intent.

The tireless O’Sullivan spends the duration chasing his unknown murderer. The physicality of the role is demanding. He gets beat up a lot. The fierce violence (R&D Choreography) is particularly intense in the intimate setting. At one point, O’Sullivan is being hunted in the dark theatre by the maniacal Sean McGill wielding a gun and a flashlight. There is no separation of stage and audience as they run in between chairs and tables.  This is as close as I ever want to get to a man hunt.

The talented ensemble morph into various characters from a boozy hotel party to a formal corporate setting. The dialogue clips with film noir abruptness adding to the drama and comedy.  The scene transitions are seamless as the ensemble, always present onstage or looming in the shadows, glide furniture on and off.  Lovelady paces it edgy, smart and tight. Special nod out to Costume Designer Raquel Adorno for dressing it up in 50s finery.

D.O.A. is the absolute perfect send-off for Hugen Hall to exit the building on.  Lovelady knows how to get away with murder in this room.  C D.O.A. A.S.A.P. 4 F.O.M.O.

 

Running Time:  Sixty minutes with no intermission

In Strawdog’s Hugen Hall, 3829 N. Broadway

Based on the 1950 Rudolph Maté film written by Russell Rouse and Clarence Greene

Adapted and directed by Elizabeth Lovelady

Mondays and Tuesdays at 8pm

Saturdays at 4pm

Sundays at 12pm

EXTENDED Thru April 10th

Buy Tickets at www.strawdog.org

 

For more information and reviews on Chicago theatre, visit Theater in Chicago.

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