A woman in a sundress stands left, her hands coering her ears. To her right, a man holding a guitar is jumping in the air. They are in front of a wall made of wooden slats, with an open trunk set behind them on the right.
Kristin Collins and John Mossman in The Pavilion at the Artistic Home. Credit: Joe Mazza/Bravelux

Like several post-pandemic shows in Chicago, the Artistic Home’s production of The Pavilion, written by Craig Wright and directed by Julian Hester, is about an intimate relationship between two people over time. It is also about the creation of the universe, being tethered to the past, and literally burning down sentimentality. High school sweethearts Peter (John Mossman) and Kari (Kristin Collins) reunite at their 20th reunion of the class of 1980. (Cue awesome 80s tunes.) Things didn’t end well, and Kari is not interested in letting go of her resentments. But neither is Peter able to let go of his notion of “what if . . . ” he and Kari had stayed together.

The Pavilion Through 6/5: Thu-Sat 7:30 PM, Sun 3 PM; Den Theatre, 1331 N. Milwaukee, 773-697-3830, theartistichome.org, $35 (students/seniors $15).

Mossman is perfectly stoic in exhibiting the male notion of a woman as a muse being able to single-handedly “fix” his screwed-up life. Collins’s Kari on the other hand, while not entirely happy, has accepted her predicament. Todd Wojcik as Narrator shines in the best role of the show; dynamic and hilarious, he also gets to play every other reunion attendee in this small town, often in rapid succession. While the story itself is not especially deep, it delves into perhaps one of the most important human quandaries: our connection to our past, how strongly we hold on to and revisit it, and how much we let it dictate our present lives. Hester succeeds in keeping the focus on the characters and their relationship to regret. Wright’s extremely well-written one-act creates an eminently engaging world that is a delight to experience.