There is nothing worse than a gnat that you can’t get rid of, so what happens when a writer gets stuck with an actor she can’t fire? Find out what happens behind the scenes as well as on set when a soap opera writer (Vicki Walden) goes to battle with an actor named Billy Jinx (Beau O’Reilly) from the show. With a simple setting and video screens, Jenny Magus creatively tells the story of how a soap opera writer and her nemesis each try to outsmart the other. Jinx, whose character is getting wrote off the show, refuses to leave and there’s nothing anyone can do about it, because he has an iron-clad contract, which makes it impossible for her to get rid of him.
The writer tries to find a way to get him to leave, so she decides to write him off by staging his character’s funeral. Bobby is relentless, he knows his rights and he has no intentions of leaving. The writer is at her wit’s end, but is constantly reminded by her production team (Julia Williams, Troy Martin, Brook Celeste, and Paul Brennan) that she has to continue to fight. The writer comes up with the idea to continue to re-shoot the death scene until Billy has had enough.
The storyline is original and Jenny Magnus does a wonderful job with incorporating video into the live stage performance. The stage acting was not my favorite part of the production. Although there were some funny moments, at times I couldn’t understand the lyrics to the songs and the choreography was a bit wacky. What made the show most enjoyable for me was when the monitors turned on and an episode of the soap opera, Another Day began to play. The entire video cast of Another Day did a superb job (Ian Belknap Jayita Bhattacharya, Kelly Ann Corcoran, Kelli Cousins, Ben Johnson, Shalaka Kulkarni, Pippen Mueller, Zoe Pike, and Maggie Vaughn). The more the cast begins to grow tired of reenacting the same scene, the more hysterical the show becomes. This production reminded me of the Carol Burnett show with a hint of Benny Hill. This was one of the funniest shows I’ve reviewed so far this year. If you are interested in a night of laughter and entertainment, I would highly recommend this production.
(Not) Another Day will continue to run through October 6, 2018, with performances on Fridays and Saturdays at 8 pm. The shows will take place at the Prop Theatre, 3502 N. Elston Avenue in Chicago. Tickets are available on the curioustheatrebranch website.
Photos by Jeffery Bivens