“In spite of everything that’s happened, when I add up the balance sheet of my life the numbers say I am happy.”—Juliana Smithton
Often times when I hear the title of a play, book, or movie, my first question goes beyond the obvious, “What is it about?”. I want to know why that particular title was chosen. What does it mean? Why is it so important that the entire recognition of a story comes from that particular title?
As I sat down to read the script for The Other Place by Sharr White, I thought surely the title isn’t actually about a concrete place that is of some importance. It can’t be that simple…can it? I can assure you the play is not that simple. In fact, there is nothing simple about it. Although it is quickly revealed in the story that “the other place” initially refers to a summer home in Cape Cod that plays a role in the family’s life, it does not even begin to describe the other “places” that we visit throughout the main character’s life. This place or the next, the past or present, even various states of mind. The Other Place takes you on a journey, that’s for sure.
Now, don’t freak out: I didn’t ruin anything for you. Sharr White’s creation is not just about an actual place where the Smithton family goes to escape their complicated lives on occasion and it is not just about the story of Juliana, an accomplished scientist and pharmaceutical pitch-woman who feels like her life is crumbling around her. The Other Place is about the journey of unmasking the truth and realizing that things are not always what they seem. Simply put, it is about the inner-workings of this complex thing we call Life.
When you come to see The Other Place (playing through February 15, *COUGH, COUGH*) at Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati, remember to brace yourself for this psychological thriller that takes you on a riveting and puzzling journey through Juliana’s life.
Will Juliana find the answers that she has sought for 10 years? Will she reconnect with her daughter and mend her broken past? Will she embrace the complicated truth that things aren’t always what they seem?
The answers to this compelling mystery are waiting at 1127 Vine St, Cincinnati, OH. Dive on in!