By Mary Boyle
One thing that people really don't like to talk about is aging. Planning for the end of one's life just isn't a very happy subject, of course, but avoiding the subject and not making your wishes clear very early on can lead to a lot of family drama in the future — though hopefully not as much drama as Alexandra experiences in The Velocity of Autumn, a new play by Eric Coble, being staged by In Tandem Theatre in Milwaukee through March 17th at the intimate and casual Tenth Street Theatre.
Eighty years old and widowed, Alexandra lives alone in a classic brownstone in Brooklyn; the place where she raised her three children, the place where she made her art, and the place where she fully intends to continue living alone until she dies. The trouble is, her two oldest children are not on board with her plan, and they have reached a rather extreme stand-off: Alexandra has barricaded herself in her home, threatening to blow the place up if anyone should try and remove her. Chris, Alexandra's youngest son who hasn't been home in 20 years, is sent in through a window to be a negotiator; not exactly the scene of a happy family reunion.
Directed by Chris Flieller, The Velocity of Autumn is not, in itself, a terribly remarkable play as far as the writing goes, but it does draw forth some hard truths, in an often funny way, about aging, bringing about discussion on a difficult topic in the way that theatre is so brilliant at doing. What makes this particular production worth seeing is the cast. When it comes to Milwaukee’s finest actors, Angela Iannone is arguably one of the finest. A regular on Milwaukee stages and beyond, Iannone has been seen for the past few year’s on The Milwaukee Rep’s stage in A Christmas Carol, and has had multiple roles at In Tandem; she brings to life any character she plays, and she is a fascinating actor to watch. Steven Marzolf, who plays Chris, is an accomplished actor and director in his own right, and makes his return to the In Tandem stage over a decade after appearing in Two Rooms. Together, they take two underdeveloped characters and a somewhat predictable script and make it worth watching.
The Velocity of Autumn runs through March 17th at the Tenth Street Theatre, located at 628 N. 10th St. in Milwaukee. Tickets are available by calling the Tenth Street Theatre Box Office at (414) 271-1371 or online at http://www.intandemtheatre.org. Join In Tandem for Giggles for Grown ups on Saturday, April 6th; a special fundraiser featuring a silent auction, wine pull, 50/50 raffle, cash bar, heavy appetizers and comedy & improv, galore!
About In Tandem Theatre
In Tandem Theatre, a 501(c)3 non-profit, was founded in 1998 with the commitment to produce exciting, innovative and professional live theatre by presenting creative and eclectic programming that enlightens, inspires, provokes and entertains a diverse audience in an intimate atmosphere. Its name, In Tandem Theatre, reflects the connection between audience and actor, the audience and the written word – an intimate experience obtained when live audiences are engaged in strong storytelling.