|Lou Ziegler with Raina & Jarrell|
Michael Hollinger has done it again!
Local playwright Michael Hollinger has given us, in collaboration with Arden’s artistic director Terrence J. Nolan, a spectacular World Premiere. Hollinger’s Under the Skin can be seen on the Arcadia stage of the Arden Theatre, 40 N. 2nd Street, in Old City, through March 15, 2015. The last time Michael and Terrence worked together, Hollinger’s Opus left the Arden stage to be produced off-Broadway and in 47 subsequent productions, making it one of the most produced plays in the country for the 2011-12 theatre season. Under the Skin promises to be another such production. While the purported theme of this work revolves around quite a serious topic, kidney donation, Hollinger has the audience chuckling away, in a manner few playwrights can achieve. Julianna Zinkel portrays Lou Ziegler’s estranged daughter, Raina. She has an unwelcomed surprise visit from her father who proclaims the need of a kidney. She is young, belligerent, and justifiably angry….or is she? Bilko Eisen-Martin portrays Jarrell, a kind soul Raina meets while visiting in the hospital. Being tested as possible kidney donors for relatives gives them a common ground. Alice M. Gatling has multiple roles; the one of Jarrell’s mother certainly the most challenging. Douglas Rees is marvelous in Craig Spidle’s role of Lou Zeigler, the man with the failing kidney. When Craig became hospitalized, Douglas Rees was called upon to play his role. Reeves gives a splendid performance with script in hand, having to refer to it only occasionally. Part of his incredible success is due to his consummate career as an actor, and part with the familiarity of the nuances of Hollinger’s work, having appeared at the Arden in Opus, An Empty Plate at the Café du Grand Boeuf, and in Ghost Writer. No matter who is portraying Lou Ziegler, Under the Skin remains an epic piece, at once both gut-wrenching and incredibly funny. It should definitely be your next go-to show to see in Philadelphia. For more information or tickets, call 215-922-1122 or visit online at ardentheatre.org.