One of the best things about Mark Guarino’s new play is the way it captures the amorphousness of time. The way last year can feel like just last month. Or the way a single day—or a single, sleepless night—can drag on forever. These are difficult sensations to describe, let alone bring to life in a theatrical setting, and as directed by Kristan Schmidt, Walkabout Theatre’s latest show evolves as if in a dream state. A young couple (Alexandra Blatt and Seth Bockley) awake in bed. They have just met. Or they met ages ago. The clock taunts with its unchanging time: in that bedroom, it is forever 3:55am. How their relationship plays out—or, rather how it doesn’t—is never really explained or sketched out; at times the script is oblique and self-serious. And yet there are some cogent observations here about self-doubt and other monsters that go bump in the night. Staged as a site-specific piece—in the backroom of The Hideout—I’m not sure the bar locale adds anything to the play itself, but it is a swell alternative to a generic black box space. The bar reminds me of a divey joint in New Orleans called Snake and Jake’s Christmas Club. These are bars that are hidden from view; you have to know how to find them to find them. There is an inherently theatrical spirit in that, and Hideout co-owner Tim Tuten’s pre-show speech—extolling the virtues of a bar that is more than a frat boy pit-stop—might just be the best part of the night.(Nina Metz)
Hideout, 1354 W. Wabansia, (773)248-9278. Mon-Tue 7pm. Through Aug 14.