Corinne J. Kawecki’s 90-minute one act, receiving its Chicago premiere at Pride Films and Plays, concerns Julia, a woman in her 50s whose life seems to be unraveling. She hates her job working as an escort. Her current girlfriend is unfaithful. Her ex, with whom she’s still living, is throwing her out. To top it off, she is being bedeviled by voices that mock and tease her. At first, we empathize with Julia, but after a while it’s hard not to get a little frustrated with a directionless character who careens from one minor disaster of her own making to another. When the turning point comes—and Kawecki does provide us with a modicum of hope that Julia will come to grips with her life—it’s not as convincing as the play’s depiction of her downward spiral.
The problem may lie, in part, with the production. Kawecki has a gift for intricate, fascinating, meandering conversations. But the cast director Iris Sowlat has assembled here isn’t always up to the kind of subtle, precisely paced performance this material requires. Pat Parks is convincing as Julia, a woman drowning in a sea of troubles, but she has the same benumbed response to all of the challenges in Julia’s life. Kendra Verhage shows more energy and depth as the shallow, self-involved girlfriend, but we quickly turn against her once we realize how bad she is for Julia. In the end this play overstays its welcome. v