Andrea Cain has been performing her entire life, even through pursuing degrees in Mathematics and Education from Illinois Wesleyan University. Her minor in Theatre Arts allowed her to explore the world of theater critique, and she has enjoyed freely blogging about her experiences for many years. She can be found dancing, writing, and practicing different dialects with her family in her free time.
Pictured (L-R): William Marquez, Cody Jolly. Photo by Paul Goyette.
By Andrea Cain
The irony of my writing a critique of Pride Plays and Films’ production of Terrance McNally’s IT’S ONLY A PLAY is not lost on me. This hilarious portrayal of the life of creative persons after opening night made me question my own purpose as a critic, and in the best possible way. This cast uses sincere desire to succeed and sheer cheek to show the audience what it means to participate in any creative aspect of live theater and what it means to seek approval for your work.
We open on the person every aspiring actor starts as, the coat boy, Gus (the adorably eager Christopher Young) bringing mounds of lavish coats up from the guests downstairs. It is just after opening night of the new Broadway play, “The Golden Egg.” He is surprised by television actor and friend of the playwright, James Wicker (the hilarious and commanding William Marquez) who doesn’t know how to tell his friend the play was awful.
Slowly but surely, every possible participator in the play experience makes their way upstairs. The bubbly and aloof producer and party host, Julia Budder (the positively cute Marika Mashburn), the play’s eccentric director Frank Finger (the multi-faceted Cody Jolly), the drug-obsessed, limelight-seeking leading lady, Virginia Noyes (the comical Sarah Hayes), an infamously hypercritical theater critic, Ira Drew (the maniacal Jeremy Trager), and, of course, the hopeful playwright Peter Austin (the thoroughly entertaining Kevin Webb).
And so everyone’s hopes for good reviews of Austin’s newest work, and yet, they begin to question why they even seek this approval. To many of these artists, critics are merely upset they don’t get to perform, so why not critique what it is they crave? Yet certain critics can have a major impact on the future of any production. The brilliant direction of Jon Martinez utilizes the tight quarters to create a space for introspection. What is it about the theater we love? And why must we gain the approval of any single theatergoer when the art is so important to us as human beings? It is these questions that will have you in stitches, and then in deep conversation afterward.
IT’S ONLY A PLAY runs through November 11. For more information visit pridefilmsandplays.com