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Thursday, Sept. 12, 2013

One Actor, One Director, One Script

Chamber Theatre presents ‘The Detective’s Wife’

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At some point in the drama, protagonist Alice Conroy works out how many mystery books she had read over the course of her life. It’s a big number. She starts crunching the numbers and discovers how much of her waking life had been spent in fabricated mysteries rather than with her family. There may be irony here in the fact that her husband was a homicide detective. That her husband was gunned down in the line of duty makes that potential irony quite dark. Naturally, she’s going to want to investigate the death of her own husband.

It’s a really sharp premise for a drama and it serves as the center of Keith Huff’s The Detective’s Wife. Conroy’s journey tracking down the ghostly details of the life of her late husband manifests itself on the stage of the Broadway Theatre Center’s Studio Theatre this month as Milwaukee Chamber Theatre continues its season. Mary MacDonald Kerr plays Conroy. Kerr, who also put in a memorable performance with Milwaukee Chamber as a woman out of synch with herself in The Sweetest Swing, has a really interesting grasp of human intention onstage. There’s a clarity to her characterizations onstage that tilts a character’s stage presence in interesting angles. Aiding Kerr in her task is an amazing actor in his own right, director Jim Tasse. With one actor and one director—and particularly with this actor and this director—one can imagine that there’s been a lot of remarkably in-depth character work done here. There’s no doubt that this will be interesting to see play out onstage.

Milwaukee Chamber Theatre’s production of The Detective’s Wife runs Sept. 18 through Oct. 13 at the Broadway Theatre Center’s Studio Theatre, 158 N. Broadway. For tickets, call 414-291-7800 or visit chamber-theatre.com.

 

Theatre Happenings

The subject emerges gradually and the climax is wrenching, but for most of its length, JERKER (or The Helping Hand: A Pornographic Elegy with Redeeming Social Value and a Hymn to the Queer Men of San Francisco in Twenty Phone Calls) is all joyful shameless gay male sex talk between two men masturbating. Through this sexy, sometimes funny device, playwright Robert Chesley, who died of AIDS-related illness in 1990, makes palpable the bonding of two San Francisco men in 1985 when the disease was at its most nightmarish. Not for kids, but everyone who values brave theatre will enjoy this play, if done well. The actors under Mark Bucher’s direction are Bill Jackson and Marty McNamee. The Boulevard Theatre production will be presented in reader’s theater style, Sept. 18-22 (with a pay-what-you-can preview on Tuesday, Sept. 17) at the Milwaukee LGBT Community Center, 1110 N. Market St. All shows start at 7:30 p.m. For tickets, visit brownpapertickets.com/event/453950 or call 414-744-5757.

Sunset Playhouse (800 Elm Grove Road) celebrates the work of Cole Porter with its staging of Red, Hot and Cole. The two-act revue showcases more than 20 songs by Cole, Sept. 12-Oct. 6. For tickets, call 262-782-4430 or visit sunsetplayhouse.com.

Harold Pinter’s fascinating, nonlinear deconstruction of human emotion, Betrayal, is brought to the stage of the Keith Tamsett Studio Theatre by Soulstice Theatre (3770 S. Pennsylvania Ave, Suite 2, St. Francis), Sept. 12-28. For tickets, call 414-481-2800 or visit soulsticetheatre.org.