Monday I cabbed out to the Gorilla Tango Theater near Chicago's Bucktown neighborhood for Chris Conley's and Kevin Sheehan's one-act play The Last Word. I loved it. I won't give anything away—at 30 minutes, any useful summary would spoil it—except to say that Sheehan and Conley have created an intriguing capsule of a world on GTT's tiny stage.
Becky Blomgren (Grace) brought her character to life with the right blend of vulnerability and integrity it required. The character has an odd trait that her mentor/antagonist Mandy (Whitney LaMora) takes for granted but should surprise her Zenish-hippie friend Trish (Amber Olivier) and the earnest but touchingly clueless Libby (Rosa SanMarch). The play remains faithful to the reality it creates, so that Grace's talent not only makes sense, but drives the story to its satisfying conclusion.
Conley (who also directed) confessed to me she'd like to tighten up a couple of bits in the script, and I think I know what she means. I hope she and Sheehan get the chance; I'd love to see a longer version that, for example, shows more of the relationship between Grace and Mandy before the argument that opens the play. But maybe not; it's a gem as it is, and I'd like to see more of Conley's work in the future.
The Last Word has one remaining performance on January 31st at 8pm. Tickets are $12.