Chasing the River

Christina Elise Perry stars as Kat in Jean Dobie Giebel's Chasing the River at Chain Theatre. Original photos by Matt Wells.
Six things you should consider about attending this play!

By Andrew Andrews

Kat’s aunt Adelaide has passed away, leaving the small town family house to Kat and her long-lost sister Beth.

Kat hasn’t been to the house in years, having moved to Philadelphia after being released from prison, where she was sentenced for a crime she committed shortly after graduating high school.

Upon arrival, Kat is immediately confronted by the people from her past, including:

  • an ex-boyfriend who married the homecoming queen but still has feelings for Kat;
  • the ghost of her alcoholic father, who sexually abused her as a teen; and
  • visions of her mother, who abandoned Kat and her father when Kat was a tween, taking Kat’s sister Beth away with her.

There are six things you should consider about attending this play:

David Rey portrays Sam, Kat's high school boyfriend.
  1. Pace: Although full of tense undercurrents, the pace of this story is very slow. If you have a short attention span, you might get bored before the real action starts to take place.
  2. Actors: All of the roles in this production have been well-cast, and the actors portray their characters perfectly and deliver their lines almost as well.
  3. Content Advisory: Even though no incest is actually depicted, it’s mentioned and alluded to again and again. Scenes of alcoholism and physical abuse are also present. If you’re sensitive to these triggers, you might have difficulty sitting through the entire show.
  4. Set: With just a few scraps from a building reclamation, creative use of packing crates and some skillfully-placed props, the scenic, lighting and sound design do a great job setting the stage.
  5. Plot: While the topic of familial sexual abuse is certainly full of drama, there’s nothing particularly original about this story or its characters, making it less engaging that I would like.
  6. Comfort: As with many black box theatres, the seating at Chain Theatre is a bit cramped, with less leg room than the basic economy section of a major US airline. It’s always distracting when the knees behind you bump the back of your chair during the performance, and the tendency for the actors to be seated means there’s more opportunity for your view to be obstructed by a tall person’s head. Choose your seat carefully!

Considering the size of the cast and the quality of the production, you get your money’s worth for the $25 price tag, but this isn’t what I’d call a must-see.

3

Andrew Andrews attended Chasing the River at Chain Theatre in New York on Saturday, February 8, 2020 @ 8:00pm to write this review.

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