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Recommended Theater: Your Problem With Men at Stage 773

TeatroReviewIt’s the American dream:  the husband, the dog, the 2.3 children, the white picket fence, the soccer practice.  It’s what every woman wants, right?

Not me and, assumedly, not most of our readers.  Maybe not Asun, either.

Asun (the main character in Teatro Luna’s Your Problem with Men), thought the dream was for her, and proposes to her long-time boyfriend in pursuit of it.  Under pressure and thinking she must get married “before her eggs dry up,” Asun (Abigail Vega) second guesses her proposal and early on in the play calls off the wedding she had requested.

If the breakup is the appetizer, the main course of Your Problem with Men is Asun’s struggle with the solitude of being single, which lends a couple of smart monologues to a bottle of tequila and a hilarious delusion of Jane Eyre.  Emilio Willams’ script is a huge asset to Teatro Luna’s repertoire – it takes a story that could easily be a sappy melodrama and turns it into keenly clever experience for the characters and audience members.  SPOILER: In one of many stand-out moments, Asun goes through an “existential crisis” in which she realizes that she is merely a character in a play.  She then calls the playwright, who informs her that she has free will and can choose what happens next.

Your Problem with Men is current and clever, and Brian Sidney Bembridge’s set design follows along brilliantly with scripted references to its “cheap Ikea furniture” and projected images and words that help clarify and progress the plot.

If I had any criticism, I’d be nit-picking.  Like: why does one onstage meal have imaginary food and one meal has real Pringles and Coke?  Or: if Asun has free will, how come she’s still sad at the end?

Perhaps my biggest confusion in Your Problem With Men is why they called us to do a review.  Make no mistake: I liked it, I really liked it, but this play is decidedly “Lakeview”.  The only reference to anything gay was an occasional nudge at the typical 30-something, single, straight woman’s lament: “maybe I’ll just become a lesbian… that would be so much easier…”

Sure.  Let me know how that works out for you.

I guess theater doesn’t have to be gay to be good, and Your Problem with Men is smart, sassy, and laugh-out-loud funny… and your single straight girlfriends are going to absolutely love it.

Your Problem With Men runs through April 14 at Stage 773 (1225 W Belmont Ave, Chicago).  Tickets are $20,available at the box office or online.

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About Lauren W

Lauren Warnecke is a Chicago-based dance writer, educator, and freelance dance professional. She holds degrees in Dance (BA, ’03) and Kinesiology (MS, ’09) and is currently a full-time Clinical Instructor for the Department of Kinesiology and Nutrition at UIC. Created in 2009 as a platform for dance-based discourse, Lauren owns and operates Art Intercepts, a dance blog and online resource actively promoting the use of evidence-based practices in dance training and performance with the goal to improve and elevate artistry, dance education, and dancer health. She is a contributing author/blogger at Dance Advantage, 4dancers, and the Huffington Post, and an arts contributor at The L Stop. Lauren freelances as a production/stage manager, choreographer, media relations specialist, and grant writer, for small arts organizations and is a Certified Personal Trainer. She is a master composter who likes to dig in the dirt and bake scones.

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