Theater Preview: THE OTHER PLACE (Chance Theater)

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by Tony Frankel on September 26, 2018

in Theater-Los Angeles

THE PUZZLE BOX OF THE SOUL

Sharr White’s riveting and affective play, The Other Side, concerns Juliana, a neurologist and holder of a billion-dollar patent, whose life suddenly starts crumbling before her eyes. The show begins with her — confident, sophisticated, impregnable — lecturing to a convention hall full of doctors. By the end she is in a very different place, and the transformation this character makes is awesome and heartbreaking.

I have seen this play twice. It’s superb structure and dialogue, as well as its other outstanding elements, make for a rich and compelling spectacle.  This mystery — now in previews and officially opening September 28, 2018 at the Chance Theater in Anaheim — is much like a smart, psychological thriller, staying one step ahead of the audience. Above all, Mr. White’s drama explores, with lovely sincerity, the crushing effects of unbearable guilt and sorrow.

This is the Chance’s “Season in Search of Truth” and The Other Place is a story very much looking for the same thing. However, the obstacle is the narrator herself, who is one of the smartest people on Earth… but now has reason to doubt what she thinks she knows. The narrative structure allows the audience to uncover the truth at the same time as the narrator, bringing us along for the ride, and thereby creating a more immersive (and intense) theatrical experience.

“The play is a real ride,” said Founding Artistic Director Oanh Nguyen. “It’s the kind of play where the less you know about it, the better. It’s a mystery, a puzzle, that the audience is putting together along with the main character — Juliana, who asserts herself as the funniest and smartest person in the world. It’s her story, and Sharr’s non-linear approach to her ultimate revelations uncovers one surprising layer after another.”

Indeed, the play is a labyrinthine unraveling from the start, so divulging any but the slightest bit of plot may irrevocably alter your experience. What I can tell you is that this fascinating, wistful, and thought-provoking play is about longing, regret, acceptance, grief, love, resentment, science, and — to some extent — health care and corporate America. In the final moment of White’s beautiful play, the dialogue which came before will rush forward in your brain like a tsunami of information that washes through your soul and then quickly dissipates, leaving the spectator satisfied, astounded, and heartbroken; every question you may have formulated as to what exactly is the play’s true story is suddenly answered.

photos by Doug Catiller, True Image Studio

The Other Place
Chance Theater
Fyda-Mar Stage
@ Bette Aitken theater arts Center
5522 E. La Palma in Anaheim
Fri at 8; Sat at 3 & 8; Sun at 3;
ends on October 21, 2018
EXTENDED to October 28, 2018
for tickets, call 888.455.4212 or visit Chance

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