Wolfbane | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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WOLFBANE, Organic Theater Company Greenhouse, Lab Theater. Jeff Carey's remarkable play is funny, erotic, sad, romantic, and unromantic all at once (the lovers are doomed to a far more sorrowful fate than death). The play opens with a frightened young man who claims to be a werewolf coming to the room of a skeptical young prostitute not unacquainted herself with the beast that lurks in the souls of men. As Wolfbane progresses, however, both these people pure in heart change, until it looks as if love may indeed cast out fear. Exploring the notion of the werewolf as anthropomorphic myth, as psychotic disorder, and as sexual fantasy, Carey leaves it to us to determine which we're viewing.

This Organic Theater Company Greenhouse production, sensitively directed by Lisa L. Abbott, walks the line between the mundane and the fantastical with never a misstep, easing us into the magic so gradually that when the time comes for us to suspend our disbelief we accept this universe without question. Martin Bedoian never overplays the familiar Lon Chaney Jr. part, his transformational seizure grotesque but never caricatural (though Carey has him argue with himself a bit longer than necessary). And Susan Frampton as the child desiring to "see the wolf" spins a witchy exorcism from Carey's exquisite poetry. Chris Corwin's everyday-gothic set, Robert G. Smith's Maxfield Parrish lighting, and Patrick Clayberg's zipless costumes all contribute to the illusion of otherworldliness rising out of the ordinary.

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