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Theater Fri Sep 20 2013

Interrobang Theatre Shows the Magic of Storytelling in Terminus

Mark O'Rowe is one of the new generation of Irish playwrights whose work was first seen in the 1990s. In Terminus, being presented by Interrobang Theatre Project, he displays his fascination with language and his passion for words. Terminus isn't so much a play as a series of stories, intertwined in monologues by three characters, known only as A, B and C. Their stories, set in the streets of Dublin, begin separately and gradually become more connected, until they are finally merged in a glorious fantasy of blood, sweat, tears and sex.


Petro, Crowley and Hall. Photo by Claire Demos.

A (Christina Hall) is a telephone trauma counselor and former teacher, who recognized the voice of a former student who calls to talk about an abortion. "How pregnant are you?" she asks. "Nine months?" She chases the young woman all over Dublin to keep her from taking the life of the child. A also has a daughter with whom she tries to maintain a relationship.

B (Michaela Petro) is a single girl who wouldn't mind having a little fun. She goes to a bar with friends, a married couple. She meets an appealing guy and the foursome heads out for continued partying. Somehow B's story features a climb to the top of a construction crane and possibly flying or falling. One of B's monologues is majestically, poetically vulgar as she meets and makes love with an angelic demon, or a demonic angel. Her description of the sex act, including his wrapping his tail around her, is phantasmagorical--and beautiful.

C (Kevin Barry Crowley) loves his Lockets (honey medicated sweets that appear throughout his monologues). In one story, he meets a girl in a bar, gets drunk and goes home with her. Later, after gorging on more Irish brand-name snacks, he steals a truck from a convenience store lot and escapes down the highway. He meets an angel, a "dark prince," and signs a Faustian contract to acquire the singing voice he has always dreamed of. But his first effort as songster fails.

C also ends up on that construction crane and is impaled on the angel/demon's tail. The gory denouement finds him cut open, "entrails spinning out," a disemboweled man swinging from the crane. Then "I launch into song," singing Bette Midler's "Wind Beneath My Sails."

The magic of Terminus is that while we may gasp at these violent, grisly, passionate scenes, it's the words that shock us. We see them only in our mind's eye. And that is the glory of storytelling that O'Rowe exploits in his beautifully crafted script and the actors fulfill in their monologues. All three actors tell their stories richly, with (to my ears) proper Irish dialects. Director Jeffry Stanton, the co-artistic director of Interrobang, choreographs the actors and their stories to a supernatural conclusion. The rhyming couplets are skillfully handled, so that the poetic form is subtle and smooth. Only occasionally do you even notice the form, as in a string of lines that includes "Jesus" and "peaches" and "beaches."

The simple set design by Mike Mroch works very well with its sophisticated lighting created by Claire Chrzan.

The playbill includes a note from the playwright about his thoughts in writing Terminus. This excerpt is descriptive. "Here we have three people in various states of loneliness and despair, whose attempts to extricate themselves from their respective mires through the most bizarre and terrifying of nights, leads them on an emotional journey through such thematic territories as self discovery, guilt, ambition, rebirth, redemption, self-destruction, and maybe a couple of others I haven't spotted yet.... At the very least it's full of crazy people doing crazy shit."

Terminus runs through October 6 at the Athenaeum Theatre, 2936 N. Southport Ave. Running time is one hour and 50 minutes without intermission. Performances are Thursday through Saturday at 8pm and Sunday at 3pm. Tickets are $25 and can be purchased online or by calling 773-935-6875.

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Architecture Tue Nov 03 2015

Paul Goldberger Describes the "Pragmatism and Poetry" of Frank Gehry's Architecture in His New Book

By Nancy Bishop

Architecture critic Paul Goldberger talks about Frank Gehry's life and work in a new book.
Read this feature »

Steve at the Movies Fri Jan 01 2016

Best Feature Films & Documentaries of 2015

By Steve Prokopy

Read this column »


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