Culture Magazine

Review: The American Plan (The Artistic Home)

By Chicagotheaterbeat @chitheaterbeat

Review: The American Plan (The Artistic Home)   
  
The American Plan 

Written by Richard Greenberg
Directed by Robin Witt
at Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont (map)
thru Aug 26  |  tickets: $28-$32   |  more info
  
Check for half-price tickets 
  
  
   Read entire review
  


     

     

A compelling and psychologically astute ‘Plan’

     

Review: The American Plan (The Artistic Home)

  

The Artistic Home presents

  

The American Plan

Review by Clint May 

Which is greater—love or fear? Richard Greenberg’s compelling and psychologically astute The American Plan leaves one wondering if there’s any separating the two or if they are critically interwoven structures. A summer of ‘59 getaway in the midst of mountains and the shores of a lake becomes a setting for the pathetic machinations of four emotionally stunted individuals. Each one is vying for something selfish, but they remain oddly sympathetic. Often we feel trapped by the confines of familial bonds or social strictures, silently plotting escape, if only to a new cage of our designs; these people are just more brutal than most.

Review: The American Plan (The Artistic Home)
German Jew emigré Eva (Kathy Scambiatterra) is the “duchess” of an enclave of sorts near a hotel at the base of the Catskills. A retreat for various wealthy and bored East Coast money, she returns so that can be reminded of her own sophistication by looking down on her social lessers. Petulant teenage daughter Lili (Margaret Katch) spends her days spying on the patrons and swinging idly in a hammock while maid and confidant Olivia makes tea and endures Eva’s digressions.

Into this hermetically sealed world a water nymph bursts onto the shores of Eva’s lake–a vision of WASPy perfection in the form of Nick (Nick Horst). Beautiful Lili is smitten by this inadvertent interloper, and the two begin a clumsy flirtation. She wryly notes that she is “pre-occupational” while he retorts that he works for the nation’s “weekly cultural epiphany” (TIME magazine). It’s the first of many encounters that hides more than it reveals. Eva haughtily regards the young man’s courtship of her only child, playing with his emotions and foiling his plans, neatly vivisecting him with charm and a viperous wit in equal measure. She reveals her daughter’s troubled history of lying, hyperbole and disappearing at odd intervals, but is no stranger to fictions herself. Nor is the ‘white knight’ Nick, who must contend with his former life and hidden secrets when another trespasser makes what only appears to be a chance visit.

The most canny of courtiers of the old French court would be daunted by Eva—a lonely woman driven to keep her daughter clinging to her apron strings (if she would ever deign to wear something so domestic). Lili’s mania becomes increasingly overwrought as Nick refuses to be driven off by Eva in what seems to be a show of devotion. Everyone’s playing a charade of manners that’s fascinating to behold and rife with world weary nuggets of wisdom. There’s a comfort in the stalwart boundaries of mountains, Eva notes, that’s not to be found in the endless shifty sea. All their best laid plans are just a way to move from one set of boundaries to another as each one approaches the brink of happiness but fears what lies beneath. Dark revelations abound that cannot be revealed: the characters want to seduce just enough to tantalize but not so much to ruin the morbid fascination of sticking to these lives to see how it all turns out. Suffice to say, no one’s a hero but no sins are beyond a certain degree of understanding.

Director Robin Witt keeps the pace steady as befitting the tone, but hasn’t quite found the right place for everyone in the cast. Katch’s Lili in particular fails to strike the right balance of hysterics and vulnerability, favoring the former too much to be believable as someone who could catch the enduring affections of Nick. Scambiatterra’s Eva is the real draw here. Her acidity is mesmerizing—a tart lemon of a woman who earns her honorary regality as she plays chess with the lives around her. As the comfortably uncomfortable Nick, Horst is a delight to behold as he tries to find his own path between his larger than life dreams and a past he can’t seem to escape.

The American Plan reveals the key difference between those who can adapt their path towards fulfillment and those who are doomed to resign themselves to discontent. Those with a myopic focus are destined for mediocrity. If you want to be happy, be prepared to want lots of things ardently. As a lesson, it’s not particularly edifying but it is very instructive, a realistic moral for an unforgiving and ever changing world.

  

Rating: ★★★

  

  

The American Plan continues through August 26th at Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont (map), with performances Thursdays 7:30pm, Friday & Saturday 8pm, Sunday 5pm.  Tickets are $28-$32, and are available by phone (773-327-5252) or online through PrintTixUSA.com (check for half-price tickets at Goldstar.com). More information at TheArtisticHome.org.  (Running time: 2 hours 10 minutes, includes an intermission)

Review: The American Plan (The Artistic Home)

Photos by Brian McConkey 


     

artists

cast

Margaret Katch (Lili Adler), Nick Horst (Nick Lockridge), Tonya Simmons (Olivia Shaw), Kathy Scambiatterra (Eva Adler), Tim Musachio (Gil Harbison).

behind the scenes

Robin Witt (director); Katherine Swan (asst. director); John Mossman (production stage manager) Loretta Rode (stage manager); Mike Mroch (set design); David Vogel (set construction); Emily McConell (costumes); Garvin Jellison (lighting); Adam Smith (sound design); Sierra Schoenig (graphics); Kristin Collins (press, marketing); Brian McConkey (photos); Marta Evans (house manager) 

12-0738


You Might Also Like :

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog

These articles might interest you :

  • Delta Responds to Me About My Complaint

    An update for all of you: after I posted my story two days ago on Monday about having filed a complaint with Delta when my seat next to Steve on a recent... Read more

    8 hours, 16 minutes ago by   William Lindsey
    LGBTQ, RELIGION, SOCIETY
  • Mastering the Waves of Ketosis

    Mastering Waves Ketosis

    See the picture on the left below? The kids are wading into the ocean and aren't very far into the ocean. My son is getting smacked in the face by a wave. That... Read more

    8 hours, 43 minutes ago by   Dietdoctor
    DIET & WEIGHT, HEALTH, HEALTHY LIVING, MEDICINE
  • DeBelle Gel Nail Lacquer - Sparkling Dust | Review

    DeBelle Nail Lacquer Sparkling Dust Review

    DeBelle Sparkling DustStay Connected I am a person who always loves to see her hands with nail paint on. My Love for Nail Paints will never fade away 💖 and... Read more

    9 hours, 14 minutes ago by   Niharika Verma
    HAIR & BEAUTY, LIFESTYLE
  • 7 Business Lessons You Can Learn From A 7-Year-Old

    Business Lessons Learn From 7-Year-Old

    Parents, it’s never too early to start nurturing entrepreneurial talents in your kids! As an active business advisor and angel investor, I’m convinced that we... Read more

    9 hours, 15 minutes ago by   Martin Zwilling
    BUSINESS, CAREER
  • 3 Things You Need to Do to Protect Yourself from Ransomware

    Things Need Protect Yourself from Ransomware

    As we become more and more dependent on internet, the dangers coming from the cyber world are increasing too. You may rest in the belief that it won't happen... Read more

    10 hours, 16 minutes ago by   Jyoti Arora
    GADGETS, TECH
  • Time to Buy Your Tickets to the World’s Largest Low-Carb Conference

    Time Your Tickets World’s Largest Low-Carb Conference

    This will probably be the world's largest international low-carb conference ever. Low Carb USA 2017 will be held in San Diego on the 3rd to 6th of... Read more

    10 hours, 36 minutes ago by   Dietdoctor
    DIET & WEIGHT, HEALTH, HEALTHY LIVING, MEDICINE
  • What I Wore: Adventures in Style [Sponsored]

    What Wore: Adventures Style [Sponsored]

    As Gwynnie Bee's featured influencer for the month, they asked me to take an item from their collection for a spin that I would not normally wear. I like to... Read more

    10 hours, 45 minutes ago by   Wardrobeoxygen
    FASHION, SELF EXPRESSION, SHOPPING