House, Chicago Repertory Company, at Chicago Actors Studio. The character in Daniel MacIvor’s one-man play, Victor, is usually described as an ineffectual, socially inept loser. Victor himself points out that he’s not weird but is most definitely fucked-up. (“You’re born weird,” he says. “You get fucked-up.”) Yet Tim Klein’s portrayal proves Victor is much more than that. Sure, his problems are laughable, especially as outlined by the caustically witty Klein. A septic-tank salesman married to an uninterested third cousin, he attends group therapy to complain about his family’s flaws and his inability, after 12 years, to get his boss to acknowledge his existence. But his underlying misery and frustration will be familiar to anyone who’s suffered feelings of depression, isolation, or alienation.
Director Stuart Carden keeps Victor’s ranting and revelations under tight control: this 75-minute show (the debut of Chicago Repertory Company) ebbs and flows as Klein explores Victor’s longing to belong and to experience happiness. Through Victor, Canadian playwright MacIvor offers richly imagined observations on human weakness. And perhaps the situation encouraged me to like Victor: what else can you do when you’re one of only two people in the theater listening to a suffering man’s litany of disappointments and wrongs? Whatever the reasons, this House is worth a visit.