If you love a good gangster story, and one that treats the gangster as folk-like figure, a tall-tale exaggerated symbol that’s claimed American mythology in its thrall and created new territory for the antihero to emerge in full force, then Transatlantic Love Affair’s 105 Proof, or: the Killing of Mack “the Silencer” Klein is right up your alley. Blending their physical theater style, minimal costumes, and haunting music, this play focuses on a family in Versailles, Illinois who gets involved with the Chicago mob after the grandfather begins making moonshine and the oldest son starts selling it for him. Full of suspense, humor, grief, and intrigue (and possibly even a cannoli reference?), this story will keep you on the edge of your seat.
Comprised of a stellar cast including Amber Bjork, Heather Bunch, Emily Dussault, Eric Marinus, Derek Lee Miller, Nick Saxton, Allison Witham, and Nick Wolf, this production loads on multiple casting, scenery building, and sound effects all performed by the actors. A soundtrack of music (as well as gunshots) is created throughout the show by Dustin Tessler and Adam J Patterson and several songs are sung in the performance, performed by the marvelous Emily Dussault and the ensemble.
I missed this show at Fringe when it was performed in 2015 and I’m delighted to see it now. As an Italian-American who grew up with the pseudo-mythology of the mob, I’m fascinated and terrified by this world of crime – and even more fascinated with America’s interest in it. After recently seeing Brecht, it’s striking to see what someone will do to make their way in the world and how they change for their work. 105 Proof includes all of this, providing a realistic feeling rural town and crime-filled city office all produced with the actor’s actions, body language, and movement. This performance feels like a whirlwind, and one I’m still thinking about days after seeing it. If you missed this at Fringe, don’t miss it now – it’s spectacular.
105 Proof is conceived and directed by Diogo Lopes. It is playing now through November 20th at the Illusion Theater. Ticket and show information can be found on the Illusion’s website or TLA’s website.