Sunday, December 4, 2022

My Review of You Will Get Sick is up

 I am posting it here as well...

Love, Death and Linda Lavin

You Will Get Sick at the Laura Pels Theater brings an unflinching but tender look at the process of one man’s death. Or is it all men? And the play begins up a cascade of questions. How do we approach death? How do we ask for understanding as our support? And what are the limits of freedom we give towards the dying?

Linda Lavin, Daniel K. Isaac, and Marinda Anderson in You Will Get Sick Joan Marcus

You Will Get Sick begins with a phone call from Callahan (Linda Lavin) to a man with a secret. Daniel K. Issac plays the sick man. He has posted flyers and offers to pay someone, any random stranger, to call hear his secret. His secret is that he is sick. The “sick” in You Will Get Sick is death. As much as we don’t want to face it, we will all die.

Lavin’s Callahan turns out to be the right person to call his number. She moves him, and the play, out of the tragic and into the slightly surreal. She is interested in the money, but hesitant to get into anything weird. Callahan does not want the burden, per say, but the money for her chosen career and dream. She wants to play Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz. And it seems their conversation will stay a one-time, financial, transaction. 

But it doesn’t. Daniel calls Callahan again to help him tell his sister he is sick. It is a burden he doesn’t want his sister to share, since their brother has already passed away. And his sister took care of their brother. So Callahan shares his secret.

 Daniel calls Callahan again, when he collapses. And again, when he is afraid of his mind collapsing.
At each point Callahan negotiates a price of her services. What starts as an annoying mercantilism on her point, morphs into a familiar and normal process that Daniel appreciates. He appreciates the idea that she treats him normally and the entire trade a transaction. It grounds him.

Ultimately, he pays her to take a trip, back home to the Midwest and wheat fields and open spaces and air. And moving on.

Daniel K. Isaac, and Nate Mill in You Will Get Sick Joan Marcus


You Will Get Sick gives the answers to life’s big questions in allegory. Not because it hides from the questions, but to bring the universality to the situation. And it works. Wonderfully.

The debut of Noah Diaz’ play explores not death, but the limits of personal autonomy; including the right to live as one desires. It explores the claustrophobia of death, the limits of love between family members, and the fellowship of strangers. 

Production Manager Mary Duffe brings together the claustrophobic life of the city and the dream of the wide-open spaces. It works wonderfully. Director Sam Pinkleton balances You Will Get Sick in the tricky area between moving, funny and honest. The play could have easily fallen into maudlin, but instead we get an uplifting story somehow. It is great.

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