Someone Who'll Watch Over Me | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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Someone Who'll Watch Over Me

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Someone Who'll Watch Over Me, Orange Theatre, at Wing & Groove Theatre. A drama that requires its three characters to spend virtually all their time chained to a prison wall presents certain difficulties--an inescapable stagnancy and lack of physicality, a sameness of look, an almost imperceptible progression of scenes, an overwhelming bleakness. Yet Frank McGuinness's highly acclaimed drama about an Irish journalist, an American doctor, and an English schoolteacher imprisoned in Lebanon searches out the humor and grace in their plight as their deepening friendship allows them to maintain their sanity and dignity.

Despite occasionally wavering dialects, the actors in Orange Theatre's production are uniformly fine and manage some moments that elevate the drama, particularly when the prisoners use role-playing games to pass the time and keep their hopes and minds alive. Christopher Popio and Illya Haase are especially endearing as they hop around imitating bunnies and pantomiming a flying car to get them out of the Middle East.

McGuinness may have found in this Lebanese prison a metaphor for his view of the human condition--seemingly a glib, more sentimental take on Beckett--but there remains something formulaic about the play's fatalism. And even though intellectually one empathizes with his tragic trio, for a surprising portion of the play one remains as emotionally detached from them as they are physically detached from one another. --Adam Langer

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