PICKSINSIX Review: FIVE MILE LAKE
MIXED EMOTIONS ROIL 'FIVE MILE LAKE'
Familiar surroundings... Whether you grew up in a small town near a lake, or perhaps summered at one, the artful simplicity of the Chicago premiere of Shattered Globe’s Five Mile Lake, written by Rachel Bonds and directed by Cody Estle is captivating. Even before this one begins, Jeffrey Kmiec’s striking set design evokes the familiar surroundings of a place where everybody knows your name, even if you have been gone for a long time.
Strong feelings and fading dreams… It is easy to relate to the situation that presents itself along the shore of Five Mile Lake near Scranton, Pennsylvania. These young people are just starting to understand what life is all about, and living long enough to know that strong feelings and fading dreams chiseled into a heart, remain there. Other people's problems may be easier to understand than our own. But, no matter what, everyone needs help sorting things out from time to time.
What’s it about... Jamie and Mary work the local coffee shop together and both of them are wound up tight in their own way. With her passion for feeding stray cats, Mary is struggling to cope with her brother, an Afghanistan combat veteran, who is back home and looking for work. Jamie, a well-intentioned, somewhat neurotic hockey fan, is looking for an angle to win over his co-worker, while pouring his energy otherwise into home improvement projects in the family lake house to keep busy. Jamie’s brother Rufus, and his girlfriend Peta, arrive for an unannounced visit that continues late into the evening on the icy deck by the lake. It is there that we discover that not all is as it appears to be. Tempers flare and things go a bit off the rails for the two guys, so Rufus ends up back at the coffee shop in the morning to try to make amends. That’s when Mary’s brother, Danny, an old pal, joins in and what happens next is at the heart of this powerfully reflective tale about lasting relationships, loss and deep-seated passion.
Dynamic cast... The ensemble work here is first-rate. Steve Peebles(Jamie) and Daniela Colucci(Mary) capture the essence of two people who have grown up together but remain oddly distant in a small community, both trying to overcome a lack of purpose and fulfillment. Colucci’s tender relationship with her brother Drew Schad (Danny) is compelling to watch unfold. This is also another exceptional opportunity for the fine Chicago actor Joseph Wiens as Rufus, who is both confident and flawed, particularly in his relationship with Peta, a role in which Aila Peck shines.
Here and now... There is a feeling that Five Mile Lake is like a lot of small towns. Nothing much changes day-to-day, that is, until someone new walks in. At an age when there is more of your life ahead than behind, the folks in Five Mile Lake find out that emotions are still raw and true life experiences have devastating consequences.
The takeaway... If we can come home again - and, I think, for a few of us it’s possible – it is important to remember that with our absence, something within our makeup will have fundamentally changed. While those who return have impressions that exist in memory, that is not the case with those who stay. They will be seeing things as they were and in the time that has passed since. So, to them, everything looks and feels strangely, and inalterably, the same. And, yes, that's a lot to think about over a pumpkin muffin in the morning.
Shattered Globe Theatre
FIVE MILE LAKE
Written by Rachel Bonds
Directed by Cody Estle
through February 24th
1229 West Belmont Avenue