The Interview | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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THE INTERVIEW, Raven Theatre. In Faye Sholiton's drama, a nervous young woman arrives at the home of a feisty elderly Jewish woman to record her recollections of the Holocaust for an oral-history project. We know from the outset these abundantly different people are going to be good for each other--even before one delivers the line "I can't believe I'm telling you this." We can't believe the convenience of pairing these damaged characters. The younger woman, Ann, has issues with her dead mom, also a Holocaust survivor, while the older, Bracha, has a daughter who no longer speaks to her. At least they don't speak in real life--Bracha just imagines conversations with her grumpy, wounded grown-up child. Coincidentally, the young man recording the interview has similar problems with his father, a Vietnam veteran. But in this case Sholiton only hints at the parallels instead of belaboring her point about the benefits of expressing one's guilt and sorrow.

Despite an explosive tirade against psychiatry, the play is riddled with therapyspeak. Its trite, cloying observations on life and love are as galling as they would be in a group session for those dealing with family members who've survived some horrible ordeal. Director Teri McCaskill and a merely competent cast can't make this contrived script work. When the characters' revelations or emotional breakthroughs lack credibility, we don't even care enough to be offended.

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