Ask Aunt Susan – By Latrese Calvert

May 25, 2012 in Cindy Bandle Young Critics by Cindy-Bandle-Young-Critics

Ask Aunt Susan is a satire play about a website programmer that creates an advice column under the name “Aunt Susan.”  Little did he know that he would be getting thousands of questions each day and missing out on life.

The play took place at the Goodman Theatre in their smaller theater called the Owen Theater. This theater and everything in it is completely black with no color in it, and the scenery worked well because the set was completely white and everything in it made it pop– you could actually see the whirlwind of “Aunt Susan’s” life. The graphic designs on the on the scenery pulled the whole play together.

The lighting was amazing. I loved the scenery projections from the Internet of different people asking “Aunt Susan” for advice. It looked like little words projected all the white scenery. The costumes were “everyday” wear, but the only thing I didn’t like was the waitress’ costume. It  really didn’t seem like a real waitress in the 20th century.It looked like the ones from the ‘60s, but there were also computers in the play, so I wasn’t sure what era the play took place in.

The sound design was very unique because whenever there was a flow of information from “Aunt Susan’s” computer there was this virtual, beeping sound which sounded like a lot of bells going off at once. That made it interseting.

The actors were very convincing, especially Steve Pickering as Steve. He really seemed like an out of control jerk, which made me want to hate him.  Justine Turner as the Waitress, Cleo, and Jill, really embodied all three of those characters and she made you believe that there were three different people playing those roles. Brittany Burch, who played the role of Betty, showed that she was a sweet and innocent person by the way she talked and moved. Jennie Moreau played the role Lydia and was very convincing as a rich,snobby wife. The whole cast did amazing jobs, especially when Steve came in drunk and was acting like a complete idiot, and also when Justine played the role Cleo–she really seemed like an Emo-goth girl that had serious problems.

The stage stayed balanced with the props and with the way the actors moved. The only thing that was distracting was the projected images showing the questions for “Aunt Susan” while the actors were on stage.

This play is apart Goodman’s Theatre 2011 New Plays Amplified which means that the directors of the plays want your opinion,  so that they can make modifcations or changes if something didnt seem right to you.