All politics is local, but maybe all narrative is, too–Theater Review: "Love Thy Neighbor…till it hurts"

What Hemingway means when he tells the writer to just “write the truest sentence you know” was borne out in Julie Ganey’s “Love Thy Neighbor…til it hurts” at Berwyn’s 16th St. Theater tonight. This Rogers Park mom just told true stories using clear, poetic language. but in doing so, she supplied her sold-out crowd a satisfying, thought-provoking hour’s entertainment. I especially appreciated her tree motif.

Under Megan Shuchman‘s direction, Ganey brought the pathos out of her adventures (and misadventures), living as a white, married woman in a diverse urban neighborhood in America. Whetherrelating her war with a housecat or her confrontations with gang-bangers, Ganey never exceeds with her language. Each of her vignettes (accompanied by a versatile musical duo) includes laughs and poignancy, and ends in a little epiphany, one worthy of Ira Glass’ This American Life (which inspires “Love Thy Neighbor”’s structure.) Without ever getting preachy or going on too long, Ganey makes powerful points about the complexity and necessity of getting along with one’s fellow Americans (and their pets) in close circumstances.
I’m looking forward to Tony Fitzpatrick’s and Arlene Malinowski’s  contributions to this theater company’s “Words in Motion” series. I hope that they, like Ganey, keep their narratives rooted in the familiar and quotidian, where narrative power resides.

In the meantime, bravo to Ganey and her partners! See it if you’re in Chicago before next weekend.

One response to “All politics is local, but maybe all narrative is, too–Theater Review: "Love Thy Neighbor…till it hurts"”

  1. This sounds like it could work as a film, on the model of My Dinner with Andre, one of my favorite films.I'm intrigued and wish I could be in Chicago to attend. For all of us city dwellers everywhere (I am in Cambridge, MA), it seems like we'd find lessons, inspiration, commonality, and comfort.


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