Aunt Dan and Lemon | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

Aunt Dan and Lemon 

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Aunt Dan And Lemon, Terrapin Theatre, at TinFish Theatre. The contemplative reminiscence is Wallace Shawn's genre, soliloquy and conversation are his tools, and the labyrinthine journey to discovery is his purpose. In Aunt Dan and Lemon the sickly Lenora, nicknamed Lemon, recalls a childhood summer spent absorbing the wisdom of her Aunt Dan, a wisdom largely imparted through anecdotes about libertine adventures during her Oxford school days and impassioned discussions of American involvement in Vietnam (in Lemon's estimation, Henry Kissinger is the only suitable consort for her fiercely articulate aunt). But Lemon's mentor ends up leading her impressionable charge to a very different conclusion than anyone--audience included--might have anticipated.

In a play that relies almost exclusively on intricate talk (notwithstanding a silent seduction scene in act two), it would be a grievous error to make the script mere fodder for actorly grandstanding. The cast of this Terrapin Theatre production, directed by Scott Letscher, acknowledge this fact with characterizations that never threaten their delivery or razor-keen enunciation. Susie Griffith as the enigmatic Lemon and Franette Liebow as the candid Aunt Dan head an ensemble that tracks the maze of Shawn's complex symposium with never a misstep. And the enlightenment they guide us to is rewarding enough to make the labyrinthine journey to TinFish, in a remote corner of Ravenswood, well worthwhile.

--Mary Shen Barnidge

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