Out of Love traces the rocky path of the lifespan of a friendship | Theater Review | Chicago Reader

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Out of Love traces the rocky path of the lifespan of a friendship

Elinor Cook's drama gets a gritty and tender U.S. premiere from Interrobang Theatre Project.

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Gender isn't binary. It's an idea that should also apply to depictions of women's friendships. So often, one character must constantly suffer and look on while her platonic pal leaves her in the dust and rises. The end result is usually unfair and unrealistic, as heavy-handed as three wet coats of nail polish.

Interrobang Theatre's U.S. premiere of Out of Love (directed by Georgette Verdin) tries its best to escape this imbalance. In this nonlinear drama—on Sotirios Livaditis's graceful, slanted set—chutes and ladders is the name of the game. Lifelong friends Lorna (Sarah Gise) and Grace (Laura Berner Taylor) grow up inseparable, experiencing their share of grief and shitty men while plotting to get out of their small English town. One fails. The other takes off. The two keep orbiting each other, even when the bleakness of distance and growing apart hits in their late 20s. The gravity of aging brings them back.

As it ebbs through Lorna and Grace's bond, the show bites at patriarchal bullshit. Playwright Elinor Cook's feminist sensibilites are at their most delectable as Actor 3 (Peter Gertas)—the show's only man—wholeheartedly plays all the male characters, bestowing a different depiction of privilege and lethargy to each. In Grace and Lorna's mythology, all men eventually become the same monster. These supporting roles give Gise and Taylor ample space to embody the heat and rage that forge female friendships, relatable and occasionally hideous impulses I've certainly held on to since girlhood. Clearly written for folks who can summon those feelings, it's a speedy 75-minute show that manages both tenderness and grit.  v

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