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Mickle Maher, There Is a Happiness That Morning Is (Theater Oobleck, Chicago, 2011)

Mary Silverstein

Abstract


In There Is a Happiness That Morning Is, Mickle Maher has imagined a witty, amusing, and moving love story about two college professors, inspired by two of William Blake’s poems. The first poem, “Infant Joy” from Songs of Innocence, is taught by the exuberant Bernard (Colm O’Reilly). The second, “The Sick Rose” from Songs of Experience, is taught by the precise, severe Ellen (Diana Slickman). The college dean, James (Kirk Anderson), serves as the worm in this Garden of Eden. The audience serves as the students in the classroom. William Blake, eighteenth-century poet, is front, center stage. His poems, chalked with artistic flourish on a large blackboard which dominates the stage, are always in front of the student–audience. They are referred to again and again by the characters, speaking in verse. So skilled are the actors that this seems natural, while it adds texture and increases the emotions of the plot.

Photo by John Sisson, Jr., reproduced by permission of Theater Oobleck


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