"Three Views of the Same Object," the Henry Murray play that opened Friday night at Next Act Theatre and runs through April 27, is a story of honor and betrayal, truth and lies, the things we do either for or to the people we love.
And in this production, it’s a story told on the shoulders of giants.
Certainly it tells a story about growing old and about the way we all must face the impending end of our lives. It is certainly about the right of each of us to determine how best to hold on to some sense of dignity as the end comes near.
But more than that, it is a story of love, what it makes us do and what it enables us to not do.
There is one old couple in the play, Poppy and Jesse. But there are three versions of this couple, giving us "Three Views of the Same Object," that object being how we want to have some say in how this whole thing comes to an end.
At some point in their lives, Poppy and Jesse signed a suicide pact. When the end was near, they wanted to go together.
It all sounds neat and tidy, but life isn’t tidy. It’s messy and full of unexpected twists and turns. The best laid plans … and all of that.
Poppy comes down with cancer and comes face to face with the reality of his life. And Jesse faces that reality too, but there are obviously different ways to anticipate and deal with the same approaching outcome.
I’m not going to give away how the end comes for each of these couples. But the end seems unimportant when compared with the tortuous journey they each take to get there.
As I said, the story, complicated as it is, is carried to almost unimaginable height on the shoulders of giants in the Milwaukee theater world.
The six actors – James Pickering, Laurie Birmingham, John Kishline, Susan Sweeney, Flora Coker and Jenny Wanasek – may well be one of the finest casts of local actors ever assembled.
They lift this play beyond reasonable expectation, and their work is eloquent testimony to the abundant quality theater available in this city.
Coker’s Jesse is an absolute mess. She has been left alone and is full of wonder at what her life has become.
"I feel like I’m in an airplane looking down on my life," she says. "I just want the plane to land."
She has touched the moment we all have throughout our lives when we want the sorrows and pains to come to an end and leave us in peace. It doesn’t matter if you are old or young, that’s always something we all deal with.
Pickering’s Poppy, who quietly suffers the slings and arrows of his Jesse, tries so hard to explain what has happened to their lives.
"I was so buried in my own reality that I couldn’t see you," he says.
This is a play about aging and what we all face. But it is so much more about our lives and how we live them by choice and how we live them by happenstance. It is moving and powerful and with an absolutely arresting set by William Boles, it demands a full focus from the audience.
This is a production not just for the aged, but for the ages.
No Talkbacks for this article.
Post your comment/review now
Disclaimer: Please note that Facebook comments are posted through Facebook and cannot be approved, edited or declined by OnMilwaukee.com. The opinions expressed in Facebook comments do not necessarily reflect those of OnMilwaukee.com or its staff.
Recent Articles & Blogs by Dave Begel
Published Sept. 1, 2015
Bob McGinn and Jason Wilde are the two most knowledgable reporters ever to cover the Green Bay Packers. If you want to know about this team, read or listen to them and avoid the silver tongued radio heads.
Published Aug. 27, 2015
With Donald Trump monopolizing the airwaves with his amazing campaign, it's important to recognize that our very own governor is also in this race. It is also important to note that there are significant differences between these two candidates.
Published Aug. 25, 2015
The 2015-16 theater season in Milwaukee is just underway and looking ahead there is promise of outstanding productions that will stimulate audiences to laugh, think and weep.It's an appropriate time to look back at the 2014-15 season that provided so much interesting theater. Milwaukee is fortunate to have so many theater companies, both old favorites and new and bold groups. We have a wealth of great theater that is abundant for a city our size.
Published Aug. 25, 2015
The injury to Jordy Nelson of the Green Bay Packers, as well as other injuries to players on other NFL teams in the last couple of weeks, is a blow to the teams as they approach the regular season.They also point to the continuing folly of having four preseason games, a relic of the past that serves no purpose other than to provide additional revenue to owners of teams in the most popular and highest revenue sport in the country.
Published Aug. 20, 2015
No less an authority than the United States Department of Justice has cracked open the door to allowing tribes, which are sovereign states, to grow marijuana on their reservations. Could this mean more revenue for Wisconsin tribes?
Published Aug. 16, 2015
Pulitzer Prize winning playwright Edward Albee has theory of evolution, if not about the existence of man, at least about the way one man lives and gets along with another. "Seascape," the third Pulitzer play Albee wrote, opened at American Players Theatre in Spring Green over the weekend and like his other great works, it looks at the evolution of relationships with an unerring eye and sensibility.
Published Aug. 15, 2015
There's this guy, see, and he lives in a hot apartment in Paris and he's got these three ladies, all of whom think he's going to marry them and they drop in and out of his place and he keeps track of all this dropping in and out by using the timetables of the airlines that the three ladies work for.
Published Aug. 14, 2015
Scott Walker is in danger of dropping off the radar screen unless someone lights a fire under him and gives him an injection of passion. He can learn a lot from the world of the theater, things that might actually make him seem like someone who cares.
Published Aug. 14, 2015
Angela Iannone, one of the finest actors ever to grace a stage in Milwaukee, has been engaged in a love affair for the past six years with a man who died when he was only 59 years old.Not only that, but the man died in June of 1893. Edwin Booth was his name, the finest actor of his time, the brother of the man who killed Abraham Lincoln and the object of desire for Iannone who has crafted a series of play about this lover.
Published Aug. 11, 2015
The PGA tournament, the final major of the golf season, gets underway this week at the beautiful Whistling Straits near Sheboygan. It's a great tournament, a great site and a wonderful chance for thousands and thousands of spectators to see the world's best golfers up close and personal. So here's a series of do's and don'ts if you are planning to go to Whistling Straits.