(Chris Jones’s article appeared in the Chicago Tribune, 5/23.)
Gunner, the memory-challenged central character in Bruce Graham’s new play “The Outgoing Tide,” is slowly losing his grip on the ebbs and flows of life. But whereas it must be tempting to play an elderly man suffering from the onset of Alzheimer’s, or severe dementia, as a timid, nervous fellow, there is not a hint of that in John Mahoney.
Mahoney — whose performance in director BJ Jones’ superb world-premiere production is, I think, the best work I’ve ever seen him do on stage — understands that the agony of suffering from progressive memory loss is not best reflected theatrically through trepidation and confusion. On the contrary, it is best expressed through strength. Only then do we understand what is being lost.