Highest Recommendation: Invictus Theater Company’s ‘Night Mother — October 25, 2020

Below is a lightly edited transcript of Playtime’s Chicago Theater Report for October 25, 2020:

You can hear this episode now on Soundcloud and at the following archives once updated:

WCGORadio.com (starts at 58:32)

We have an abbreviated report this week, so no wine recommendation, though I have plenty in my cellar for upcoming reports. Stay tuned. 

60 is the New 40 by 2nd Act Players

Bill did want me to mention that the 2nd Act Players will premier 60 is the New 40, eight short plays done over two weekends that look at non-stereotypical ways people are reinventing themselves in their Golden Years. Four plays will be performed online on November 13 and again on November 14, 7 p.m. each night. Four other plays will be performed online Nov. 20 and again on Nov. 21, 7 p.m. again. Tickets to see four plays on one night is just $10. Or get a two-weekend pass to see all eight shows for only $15. Tickets for individual evenings will go on sale Oct. 1. Visit 2ndActPlayers.com for tickets and more information.

‘Night, Mother by Invictus Theater Company

Invictus Theatre Company has debuted its fall production of ‘Night, Mother. The play focuses on an evening’s conversation between Jessie and her mother Thelma: Jessie is depressed and tired of life, and she has decided to end her own. She spends the evening telling Thelma of her plans. She also describes to Thelma the various tasks that Thelma will need to complete on her own after Jessie is dead.

Tekeisha Yelton-Hunter and Courtney Gardner both offer devastating performances in this Zoom production: Each woman embodies her role without giving way to excess. Gardner is particularly effective in her portrayal of Jessie, a woman who is simply tired of the struggle of living and who concludes that ending her life is preferable to continuing. 

Yelton-Hunter is also superb in her role as a mother who has, whether consciously or not, held her daughter (and perhaps everyone else in her life) at arm’s length for most of her life. I was left wondering if this was a final test by Jessie to see if her mother was capable of escaping her passivity and moving forward to prevent something, taking real action she claims she didn’t want to happen.

The director and production crew also deserve credit for creating a play that could not be performed on a stage: The visual effects and sets are well-constructed and create a believable and accessible virtual canvas on which this powerful story can be told. This production has my highest recommendation.

Tickets can be purchased online at InvictusTheatreco.com. The show runs through November 8th, 2020.

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