Theatre L'Acadie makes a promising debut with 70 Scenes of Halloween | Theater Review | Chicago Reader

Theatre L'Acadie makes a promising debut with 70 Scenes of Halloween 

Jeffrey M. Jones's 1990 play about the horrors of disintegrating relationships gets a rare revival with a brand-new company.

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click to enlarge 70 Scenes of Halloween

70 Scenes of Halloween

Courtesy of the artist

For its inaugural production, directed by Emily Daigle, Theatre L'Acadie presents Jeffrey M. Jones's 1990 jumbled-chronology portrait of a crumbling relationship. On Halloween night, Jess (Brandii Champagne) and Joan (Kaitlin Eve Romero) just want to relax in front of the TV, but keep getting interrupted by trick-or-treaters, ghosts, and monsters. As a voice from the back of the theater calls out scene numbers—sometimes in, sometimes out of sequence—the couple and their seen and imagined tormentors wrestle to determine whether the pair will stay together or split.

Through straightforward drama, slapstick, poetry, and gross-out or arch comedy, each scene takes on some aspect of a long-term love affair that seems in very real danger of ending. Anyone who has lived with another person over any length of time will immediately recognize the inconsequential-seeming spats that these two engage in. A recurring screaming match over why Joan didn't buy candy corn, or whose turn it is to answer the door, masks much bigger problems.

Beast (Jo Hoch) and Witch (Kevin Blair)—wearing masks or ghost sheets or ghoulish makeup—alternate as the couple's doppelgangers, predators, confidants, and prey. They are a physical manifestation of what ails this pair. In the end, at the creatures' urging, Jess and Joan leave their house to go to Dairy Queen. It's a momentary truce, but there's no guarantee there will be lasting peace between these two monsters. This play is a note-perfect evocation of what we casually do to one another every day.  v

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