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  • David Zak

Two perfect scenes are the heart of IN EVERY GENERATION

Two perfect scenes are the heart of IN EVERY GENERATION, a world premiere by Ali Viterbi, directed by Devon de Mayo at Victory Gardens. The first scene of Act 2 is set in 1954. We discover Davide (Paul Dillon) and Paola (Carmen Roman), a young couple still getting to know each other, celebrating Passover - with song, readings, wooing, dancing, and a bit of striptease. They live in America now, but a knock on the door reignites fear and reveals the truths, prayers, and miracles that got them through World Ward II. Because in Act 1, the pair had played the same characters in their 80s in 2019, the work by these stellar veterans is an astonishment - both hilarious and heartbreaking - and is a magical bit of theatrical trickery,

In the next scene, set in 2050, we see the two sisters (Sarah Lo and Esther Fishbein) at the heart of this epic drama. They have bantered and battled about family and faith all their lives. Their mother (Eli Katz) - now without speech - communicates with an electronic device revealed to us in supertitles, earning some ironic chuckles. The three women are excellent and fully connected. Another knock on the door reveals panic, as Jews in America again must hide. We understand that the family's struggle has passed through generations by the scene's end. The thread of truths and lies is now impossibly interconnected. Yet the sisters have restored their bond, which would have made the perfect ending.

Alas, what follows is a lame scene change with the cast dancing in with contemporary pillows and rugs, and the supertitles let the audience know we are now in Egypt in 1416 BCE. The characters discover Diet drinks and cellphones in the sand, and the family's struggle is the same. The point - so elegantly stated in the previous two scenes - is now overstated.

I don't believe refiguring the seating in the Biograph for in-the-round staging was an asset to the production. The long seriocomic first act with all five cast members at the Passover table had serious sightline issues. Some great zingers got lost in the staging, and the timing of the ensemble, no doubt, will improve with time.

The creative team - Andrew Boyce and Lauren Nichols (Scenic Design), kClare McKellaston (Costume Design), Heather Sparling (Lighting Design), Jeffrey Levin (Sound Design), Yeaji Kim (Projections Design), Caitlin McCarthy (Props Design), Courtney Abbott (Intimacy Design) and Adam Goldstein (Language and Dialect) all deserve a great deal of credit. Weaving between Italian, Yiddish, and English keeps you on your toes.

The script has already won a great deal of attention. This is a National New Play Network Rolling World Premiere by Victory Gardens, the Olney Theatre Center (MD), and San Diego Repertory Theatre (CA). The entire team at Victory Gardens deserves congratulations for their continued dedication to new work, diverse voices, and experimentation.

Regular run: April 9 – May 1, 2022

Schedule: Tuesday-Saturday 7:30pm (except April 2, April 12, April 16, April 19)

Wednesday: 2:00pm (April 20 only)

Saturday: 3:00pm (April 16 only)

Sunday: 3:00pm & 7:30pm (April 3 only)


Performances: Word for Word (open captioning): Wednesday, April 20, 2022 at 2:00pm; Friday, April 22, 2022 at 7:30pm; Saturday, April 23, 2022 at 7:30pm

ASL Interpretation: Friday, April 22, 2022 at 7:30pm

Audio Description/Touch Tour: Friday, April 22, 2022, at 7:30pm; Sunday, May 1, 2022, at 3:00pm (Touch Tour begins 90 minutes prior to showtime)

Location: Victory Gardens Theater is located at 2433 N. Lincoln Avenue,

in the heart of Chicago's Lincoln Park neighborhood

Tickets: $29 - $62

Box Office: The Box Office is located at 2433 N. Lincoln Avenue, Chicago.


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