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  • Writer's pictureKimberly Laberge

You Got Older... and a whole lot sexier, too

All photos by Robert Colletta Photography. Emmaline Friedrichs and Rob Schreiner (Cowboy) in You Got Older.

Somewhere in the world of lusty cowboys and terminal cancer rests a surprisingly tender series of comedic vignettes. Intimate and infectious, Outskirts Theatre Company's production of You Got Older provides an all-seeing look into the thoughts and desires of Mae.

Eddie Curan (Mac) and Friedrichs in You Got Older.

32, single, jobless, and living back at home with her weakening father, Mae's passion seems to be lost amidst the hospital bills and her revived sense of dependency. In this starring role, Emmaline Friedrichs wraps together a dynamic mix of restlessness and and trepidation.

Friedrichs in You Got Older.

While Mae's heart and body beg her to leave the home and reclaim her identity as a woman and adult, a growing sense of urgency at home and an instinctual desire to protect her family tugs her back. This perpetual push and pull creates the tide that sends Mae adrift, into the unknown future.

Friedrichs and Curan in You Got Older.

This all-female production team features Francesca Steitz (also playing the role of Hannah), whose set design work should garner for itself a place in the Milwaukee theatre scene. Simplistic yet effective, blocks effortlessly transform the set from a bar, to a porch, to a bedroom. It is fast, smooth, and both compliments the needs of each scene while still stepping back for the actors to carry the story.

Bush, Steitz, Gardener, and Friedrichs in You Got Older.

Steitz and Friedrichs play siblings, brought together by their father's surgery. Matthew and Jenny (Teddi Jules Gardener and Ava Bush, respectively) are also crammed in the tiny hospital room. What follows is a strikingly realistic portrayal of a family under stress - it is fast paced, hectic, and full of subtle revelations. The frustrations brought on by circumstance all share a fierce familial love at the core.

Friedrichs and Greg Ryan (Dad) in You Got Older.

In her director's note, Maddi Conway concludes that "[o]ur lives are not a linear trek to the end, but a vast landscape." You Got Older is exactly that - rather than being a clear path through the journey of illness, this production gives nuanced glimpses of the resulting complexities in relationships and self. Conway's directoral debut is handled with finesse and poise. The spirit of resilience can be alive, even while malady looms overhead, and to live is not a reflection of one's wellness, but rather one's willingness.

You Got Older runs at the Underground Collaborative through January 20th.


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