A foreign city.
There you are, alone in the sterile shoebox of a hotel room at a crucial moment in your life. (Aren’t they all crucial?) You’re scared. You’re thrilled. You’re a colossus looking down on the streets outside your window. Suddenly anonymous, you can re-invent yourself right here, right now. Look in that mirror. There’s your best friend. Or is it?
I can’t wait for tonight’s opening of THREE HOTELS, Jon Robin Baitz’s 1993 Drama Desk Award-winning play. You might know Baitz from his plays OTHER DESERT CITIES, and THE SUBSTANCE OF FIRE. This little 80-minute wonder is a complex, thrilling, emotional, and frustrating ride with a married couple who are no longer able to connect. But that description barely scratches the surface.
Laid out in three monologues, the play defies convention. Yes, there’s a story (many stories, really) but I wouldn’t say there’s a “plot” in the traditional sense. As Kenneth Hoyle, I kick it off in my Moroccan hotel room with a martini-fueled exposé of corporate realities. As Ken dissects the decisions he’s made, you might feel tingles of… what? Guilt? Laughter? Complacency? Compassion?
Jaimelyn takes over as Barbara Hoyle in her beach-side cabana. Suitcase in hand, she’s departing from a life that she never thought she’d be living, from a man who she can’t locate any more, from an event that all but destroys their relationship and their desires and their dreams for the future.
And then there’s Ken again, now in Mexico. Putting it all together.
The play sucked me in immediately when I started reading it. In the few days before my audition I read it 3 or 4 times entirely, and once cast I read it over and over and over again. There were a lot of Wikipedia searches. In a way, it’s a solo show: me figuring things out, right now, in front of a live audience; relating stories that could be in a Moth show. For the first two weeks of rehearsal, it was just me and Luda in the room trying different things and talking and questioning and me trying to see everything through Kenneth’s eyes.
We also talked about you, the audience. Who are you to Kenneth, who are you to Barbara? You can answer those questions yourself:
BY JON ROBIN BAITZ
DIRECTED BY LUDA LOPATINA SOLOMON
August 9 – September 17, 2016
Thursday – Saturday at 8pm, Sundays at 2pm
Athenaeum Theatre Studio Two
2936 N Southport Ave
Chicago, IL 60657
Featuring Dave Belden and Jaimelyn Gray
Jaimelyn & I talking briefly about the play: