Annie Slivinski and Karen Bronson play outrageous characters in the Village Theatre Guild’s production of “Parallel Lives,” written by Mo Gaffney and Kathy Najimy. The Glen Ellyn theater troupe said the spoof of modern life is a collection of 11 vignettes as incisive and reflective as they are funny.
The two-woman play offers a vivid glimpse into the lives of characters – both female and male – and their individual takes on society, sex, gender roles, changing mores, religion and politics.
“And almost each scene has sections that cut close to the bone with real tenderness and truth, which, I think, is rare in a show that makes you laugh so hard and so often,” said director Stephen Rader.
At the start, the playwrights introduce two supreme beings who create the world with the same verve as two housewives decorating a living room. They create the races – white people being the most mundane of colors – then sex. To compensate for women’s advantaged position in the scheme of things, they are given painful childbirth and men are afforded enormous egos.
From this moment, the audience is whisked through the outrageous universe, where the cast plays men and women struggling through the common rituals of life. With humor, “Parallel Lives” reexamines the ongoing quest to find parity and love in a contest handicapped by capricious gods – or, in this case, goddesses.
“'Parallel Lives' walks up to the line of irreverent, and might dance on it from time to time, but there's always a good-natured sense about it, so it never moves beyond irreverent into offensive,” Rader said. “The actors (Annie Slivinski and Karen Bronson) amaze me in rehearsals. And 'amaze' is one of those words we use much too much these days, but it fits here; they amaze me. They just jump into these characters.”
The comedy is performed at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Aug. 3, 9, 10, and 3 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 4. Tickets cost $15, and may be reserved at 630-469-8230. Visit www.villagetheatreguild.org. Village Theatre Guild is near the northwest corner of Park Boulevard and Butterfield Road, Glen Ellyn.