BE HERE NOW Review – What Makes You Happy?

left to right) Deanna Reed-Foster, Rebecca Jordan and Demetra Dee in Shattered Globe Theatre’s Chicago premiere of BE HERE NOW. Photo by Evan Hanover.

Shattered Globe Theatre launched its 2019-20 Season with the Chicago premiere of BE HERE NOW, Deborah Zoe Laufer’s story about searching for happiness, directed by Producing Artistic Director Sandy Shinner*

“There is no moment but this moment…This is you at this moment…” says a voiceover as the production begins. We soon realize that it is a yoga/meditation session being attended by  Bari (Rebecca Jordan), Patty (Deanna Reed-Foster), and Luanne (Luanne Cooper). While Bari’s noticeably uncomfortable and leaves, we soon learn why she was there. 

(left to right) Deanna Reed-FosterRebecca Jordan and Demetra Dee in Shattered Globe Theatre’s Chicago premiere of BE HERE NOW. Photo by Evan Hanover.

Bari, an atheist and cynic, loses her job teaching nihilism in New York City.  Needing to finish writing her thesis on the subject to get her job back, she takes a job working in a fulfillment center in her small hometown of East Cooperville. Nihilism, in case you are wondering, is “a viewpoint that traditional values and beliefs are unfounded and that existence is senseless and useless” according to Merrium-Webster. 

Telling her co-workers and friends, Patty and Luanne about her bleak outlooks and belief that nothing matters, Patty and Luanne encourage her to try yoga, meditation and Patty ends up setting her up for a blind date with Mike Cooper (Joe Wiens) to find her happiness. But as we soon see, recurring headaches that Bari has been experiencing soon become more intense, and while frightening to those around her, they make Bari feel like everything is beautiful and amazing and makes her feel…happy.  

(left to right) Demetra DeeDeanna Reed-Foster and Rebecca Jordan in Shattered Globe Theatre’s Chicago premiere of BE HERE NOW. Photo by Evan Hanover.

When she finds out that these headaches may be killing her, Bari is reluctant to do anything about it. Scared of going back to being miserable and pessimistic, what if the headaches are what is making her see clearly and a better person?  

(left to right) Rebecca Jordan and Joseph Wiens in Shattered Globe Theatre’s Chicago premiere of BE HERE NOW. Photo by Evan Hanover

This is a production that not only dives deep into what why and how a person achieves happiness, but manages to do it with heart and humor. It kept my attention the whole time. 

From Artistic Director Sandy Shinner, “Shattered Globe wanted to kick the season off with a comedy – but a comedy with underlying themes that reflect our current moment. Today’s social media is overloaded with images of people at their self-curated best – but how do we really get through this thing called life? I hope that our audiences leave the theater with renewed appreciation for the complexities and joys of life.”

 I did, and I believe that others will too. 

(left to right) Rebecca Jordan and Joseph Wiens in Shattered Globe Theatre’s Chicago premiere of BE HERE NOW. Photo by Evan Hanover.

BE HERE NOW  Location: Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago Regular Run: Thursday, September 12 – Saturday, October 19, 2019 Curtain Times: Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays at 8 pm; Sundays at 3 pm. Please note: there will be an added performance on Saturday, October 19 at 3 pm.

Touch Tour/Audio Description Performance: Friday, October 4 – 6:30 pm touch tour, 8 pm performance with audio description. $20 tickets available with code “ACCESS.”

Global Perspectives: SGT will be hosting post-show discussions immediately following 3 pm performances on Sundays.

Tickets: Previews: Pay-what-you-can (Thursday). $20 (Friday and Saturday, $10 students). Regular Run: $42. Student rush tickets available day of performance for $15. Seniors $35. $25 under 30 years old. $15 industry tickets on Fridays with code “INDUSTRY.” Single tickets are currently available at Shattered Globe in person at the Theater Wit Box Office or by calling (773) 975-8150. Group discounts are currently available by contacting groupsales@shatteredglobe.org or by calling (773) 770-0333.

About: Shattered Globe Theatre (Sandy Shinner, Producing Artistic Director; Doug McDade, Managing Director) was born in a storefront space on Halsted Street in 1991. Since then, SGT has produced more than 65 plays, including nine American and world premieres, and garnered an impressive 42 Jeff Awards and 106 Jeff Award nominations, as well as the acclaim of critics and audiences alike. Shattered Globe is an ensemble-driven theater whose mission is to create an intimate, visceral theater experience that challenges the perspective of audience and artist alike through passionate storytelling. Shattered Globe is inspired by the diversity of Chicago and committed to making theater available to all audiences. Through initiatives such as the Protégé Program, Shattered Globe creates a space which allows emerging artists to grow and share in the ensemble experience.

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