WOLFBANE: Organic Theater, 1994
ChicagoReader. December 2, 1994
WOLFBANE, Organic Theater Company, Lab Theatre.
Jeff Carey’s remarkable play is funny, erotic, sad, romantic, and unromantic all at once (the lovers are doomed to a fate more sorrowful than death). The play opens with a frightened young man coming to the room of a skeptical young prostitute not unacquainted herself with the beast that lurks in the souls of men. As Wolfbane progresses, however, both these people pure in heart change, until it looks as if love may indeed cast out fear. Exploring the werewolf as anthropomorphic myth, as psychotic disorder, as sexual fantasy. Carey leaves it to us to determine what were viewing.
This Organic Theater Company Greenhouse production, sensitively directed by Lisa L. Abbot, walks the line between the mundane and the fantastical with never a misstep, easing us into the magic so gradually, that when the time comes to suspend our disbelief we accept this universe without question. Martin Bedoin never overplays the familiar Lon Chaney jr. part, his transformational seizeure grotesque but never caricatural (though Carey has him argue with himself a bit longer than necessary). And Susan Frampton as the childing desiring to “see the wolf” spins a witchy excorcism from Carey’s exquisite poetry. Chris Corwin’s everyday-gothic set. Robert G. Smith’s Maxfield Parrish lighting, and Patrick Clayberg’s zipless costumes all contribute to the illusion of otherworldness rising out of the ordinary.
–Mary Shen Barnidge