(Chris Jones’s article appeared in the Chicago Tribune, 11/13.)
If your moviegoing tastes lean toward the modestly budgeted independent film, especially those small, sad stories about underachievers and their prosaic-but-tough lives, often signaled by a setting in a cold, second-tier city, or by the casting of the likes of Mark Ruffalo, Laura Linney or Philip Seymour Hoffman, then Deirdre O'Connor's new play "Assisted Living" would merit an injection of live theater into your current entertainment diet.
Granted, there are no marquee names in the Profiles Theatre production in the little Wrigleyville storefront theater known as The Second Stage (although I would not be surprised to see this script become such a movie). But there is a quartet of exceptionally honest and exquisitely cast Chicago actors and a modestly scaled but very compelling new play. It comes from an exceptionally talented, Brooklyn-based writer for stage and screen who is choosing to premiere her work at a small theater here rather than see it workshopped or processed to death in some massive institution. And — in no small measure by getting its regular actors out of the way and letting the unpretentious but careful director Joe Jahraus get the performers this particular play needs — Profiles has given "Assisted Living" just the right amount of help.