Review: Or (Caffeine Theatre)

| November 1, 2011
Megan Kohl (Aphra) and Edward Karch (Charles II) - Caffeine Theatre       

Written by Liz Duffy Adams 
Directed by Catherine Weidner
Collaboraction Theatre, 1575 N. Milwaukee (map)
thru Dec 4  |  tickets: $20   |  more info

Check for half-price tickets  
        Read entire review


A perfect theatrical outing


Edward Karch (Charles II) and Megan Kohl (Aphra) - Caffeine Theatre

Caffeine Theatre presents

Review by Katy Walsh 

Real or imagined.  Fact or fiction.  Truth or fabrication. Writers craft words together to tell a story.  Each word is chosen for a purpose.  Sequenced together in sentences, every word has the potential to change the meaning.  For a writer, it’s not as important to be black or white, as long as it’s read. 

Caffeine Theatre presents the Midwest premiere of Or.  It’s England circa 1670’s.  Charles II is on the throne.  Nell Gwynne is on the stage.  And Aphra Behn is on a deadline.  Aphra wants to finish her new play.  She’s distracted by her past, present and future.  Her old lover wants her to help.  Her current lover wants her to screw.  Her future lover wants her to play.  A night of assignation plots and sexual trysts threaten Aphra’s theatrical creation.  Should she address the drama in her house or in her head?  Or is a fun-lusting, writer’s dream or a high-spirited, sexy actors’ romp!

The set, designed by Stephen H. Carmody, is a framed structure with doors and drapes.  Upon arrival, the doors and curtains are open.  The audience sees past the set and into the makeshift dressing room of the cast. The actors are dressing and bantering.  The illusion begins!  Is this a play about a writer writing a play?  Or is it about actors playing in a play that is being written?  Playwright Liz Duffy Adams has taken real historical people and events and sexed it up!  Adams pens a lively tale about ‘things that really matter: poetry, theatre and love.‘   Adams uses lyrical dialogue combined with madcap action.  The results are the ultimate romantic comedy.  Under the well-paced direction of Catherine Weidner, three actors play seven characters.  It’s a whirlwind of changing roles.  Edward Karch gets into a trunk as William Scott and moments later arrives at the door as the King.  The vaudevillian vibe keeps the threesome frolicsome.  There is no either/or.  Or *is* the Kohl, Kron, Karch Show. 

In the lead, Megan Kohl (Aphra) is unswerving to the zany antics surrounding her.  Kohl delivers her prose as a passionate and focused writer.  A delightfully witty Kohl continues to make writing the focal point of the story.  Edward Karch is hilarious playing both kinds of scoundrels.  He’s majestic as an unapologetic cheating husband.  He’s a drunken mess as a rogue on the run.  Kay Kron (Nell) plays multiple roles with stellar comedic timing.  Whether prison hag or whorish actress, she zings all her lines with vivacious sass!  This trio is an energetic, non-stop, pleasurable ménage à trois.   

Or is the perfect theatrical outing.  In the moment, I was entranced in the story.  Afterwards, I was intrigued to wikipedia each of the characters’ history.  Reading around the play made me appreciate even more Adams clever writing.  Believe me when I say see Or…. or you’ll regret it!

Rating: ★★★★

Caffeine Theatre’s Or continues through December 4th at Collaboraction Theatre in the Flat Iron Arts Building, 1575 N. Milwaukee (map), with performances Thursdays-Saturdays at 8pm, Sundays at 3pm.  Tickets are $20, and are available by phone (312-409-4778) or online at (check for half-price tickets at More information at time: 85 minutes, no intermission)

Edward Karch (William Scot) and Megan Kohl (Aphra) - Caffeine Theatre

All photos by Jason Beck




Megan Kohl (Aphra), Kay Kron (Nell Gwynn), Edward Karch (CharlesII/William Scot)

behind the scenes

Catherine Weidner (director); Kristin Idaszak (asst. director); Louise Edwards (dramaturg); Alarie Hammock (costumes), Chase Corman (lighting); Stephen Carmody (set); Christian Gero (sound); Shane Kelly (tech director), Christine Adaire (vocal/dialect coach); Rose Streit (stage manager); Jason Beck (photos)


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Category: 2011 Reviews, Caffeine Theatre, Collaboraction, Flat Iron Arts Building, Katy Walsh

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