Inspiring: “I Do Today” @ the Greenhouse Theater Center
Theater Review by Rebecca Curl, September 10, 2016
3 out of 4 stars
(originally published on Chicago Stage Standard)
Carin Silkaitis in I Do Today. Photo by: Michael Brosilow
Refreshingly quirky and captivating, I Do Today breathes new life into the Chicago arts scene. As a part of the Greenhouse Theater Center’s Solo Celebration! series, audience members are exposed to the unique experience of the one-person play. Written by Sarah Myers and starring Carin Silkaitis, I Do Today delves into the often controversial topics of love, sexuality, and marriage in a light-hearted, yet also deeply thought-provoking manner. Silkaitis leaves no stone unturned as she works to redefine how our society classifies love, sexuality, and commitment.
Co-produced with The Other Theatre Company, I Do Today strives to challenge the rigid relationship standards placed upon us by our society. True to their artistic goals of “telling the stories of individuals or groups who are “othered” by systems of oppression,” The Other Theatre Company has used I Do Today as a platform to shed light on the need for growth and understanding within communities still holding tight to old ideals. Silkaitis’ portrayal of a Jewish woman grappling with her deviations from traditional family values and marriage opens a door for conversations about a woman’s need for independence and self-expression in a world originally built to compartmentalize her. Under the direction of Greenhouse’s Artistic Director, Jacob Harvey, I Do Today has boldly and humorously brought attention to the dire need for each of us to truly discover and fully embrace all sides of ourselves, no matter how dark or “wrong” they may seem.
A simple, quaint “home” becomes Silkaitis’ playground as she begins her conversation with the audience about love and her family tree. Scenic designer Liz Havenga created an atmosphere reminiscent of a typical family home in America with a few unique, whimsical twists. A large chalkboard/mirror becomes the focus of Silkaitis’ self-discovery as she uses it to map out and make sense of her family tree. Blank frames on the wall allow for Silkaitis’ story to continually evolve and grow, thus allowing the audience to understand that our lives go so much deeper than what is seen on the surface. Matthew Carney’s lighting design creates a particularly beautiful moment near the end of the production as hanging light bulbs are illuminated across the stage. Though the scene created is a simple one, the production’s designers chose to highlight key aspects of the world that complimented Silkaitis’ performance wonderfully.
Silkaitis played the part so honestly that it truly felt as if you were the only one in the room that she was speaking with. Through meaningful eye contact and moments of recognition with audience members as they reacted to her story, Silkaitis made a point to make everyone in the room feel included. Delving into the uncharted territories of your subconscious is no easy task and is definitely one that feels more comfortable in the company of a friend. Silkaitis helped the audience to see that honesty and change do not always have to be scary; sometimes the most beautiful moments in our lives are the ones that are the most unexpected and difficult. The intimacy shared between the audience and the actor in this one-person production was phenomenal and quite inspiring.
It is not every day that we are given the opportunity to explore the unique subconscious of another individual. Take advantage of the time that we are lucky enough to have with I Do Today and expose yourself to a style of theatre often overlooked in our traditional arts scene. I Do Today will challenge your previous notions about what it means to be committed to someone in our modern society and will dare you to step outside of your comfort zone in order to begin your journey to becoming your real self.
I Do Today is playing now through October 9th, Thursdays through Saturdays at the Greenhouse Theater Center located at 2257 N. Lincoln Avenue. For tickets to this production and others in the Solo Celebration! series, you can contact the box office at 773-404-7336 or visit www.greenhousetheater.org. For more information, please visit www.theatreinchicago.com.