Dinner and a show – for one

January was a slow month for me. Blame it on the weather, coupled with some soul-searching I’d rather not get into here (yet). Regardless, I couldn’t quite find the motivation to get out and about even as the days started getting longer, if only by minutes.

So as a new month rolled around, I started actually clicking on the emails I signed up for ages ago with all the goings on around Chicago, and started sorting out what kinds of adventures I could send myself on in the new year. Within a week, I had purchased two tickets to two different local theater productions that both came well reviewed.

(Brief aside: the sheer difference in cost of living between Chicago and New York cannot go overstated. What I’m not paying in inflated rent I can spend on these kinds of adventures, and it’s wonderful.)

EdgewaterFirst up, a one-woman show from Rivendell Theatre Ensemble, Body/Courage, presented at their storefront theater in Edgewater, a neighborhood on the far north side. Decently reviewed, the production centers around a woman’s life-long journey to accept her own body and the 300 interviews she conducted on the same.

I did some quick research around getting there, discovering it’d be easier to go straight from work and allow enough time for dinner in the neighborhood. Going home first would put me outside of a direct route to the theater via public transit, and I didn’t want to rely on an Uber to get there. Plus, setting aside time for a quick bite was a welcome prospect – who am I to turn down the chance for to check out a new restaurant?

The night of the show, I settled in for the long train ride north and emerged in Edgewater to yet another charming neighborhood corner, a city-wide trait unique to Chicago, the city of neighborhoods. With some time to spare, I wandered around a few blocks to check out my dining options. An Indian spot looked tempting, but at nearly 7p on a Wednesday it was empty, not exactly a promising sign.

Better populated was the Mexican cafe across the street, so I nabbed a table for one and enjoyed a house margarita on the rocks and spicy chicken enchiladas with the pleasant company of myself and my Pocket reading list. Check paid and enough time before the show started, I set out to walk to the nearby theater. Without realizing it, I left the cozy confines of the business district of this particular neighborhood and found myself heading north up an essentially residential street, no evidence of a theater in sight.

I did find the space (mainly thanks to a sidewalk sign confirming I was in the right spot!), and settled into the 40-seat space while my fellow theater-goers arrived – all twelve of them.

Overall, the show was lovely and I give all credit to the very talented writer and star, who embodied not only her own story but that of several colorful characters masterfully. Unfortunately, the show has a whole never entirely coalesced into a sum better than its parts, lacking a central thread to tie it all together. With a premise evocative of The Vagina Monologues, I was optimistically anticipating something transcendent and transformative, and it never quite got there.

Transformative or not, the evening proved to be an entirely enjoyable date with myself as I got out of my apartment for the night and discovered a new area of the city in the process. Mission accomplished.