116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
IOWA CITY — When Megan Gogerty tries to spare her dog the horror of eating a dead chipmunk in their backyard, she opens a Pandora’s box that spirals throughout the summer of 2021, rocking Gogerty and her husband, Chris Rich, to the core.
The kids and the dog seem to fare well enough — they just have to live with the drama unfolding around them.
And because Gogerty is a comedian and a playwright, audiences get to revel in the drama unfolding around them in “Chipmunk’d,” onstage through Oct. 2 at Riverside Theatre’s new home on the Ped Mall.
What: World premiere: “Chipmunk’d,” solo show by Megan Gogerty
Where: Riverside Theatre, 119 E. College St., Iowa City
When: To Oct. 2; 7:30 p.m. Thursday to Saturday; 2 p.m. Sunday
Tickets: $15 to $35, Riverside Box Office, (319) 259-7099 or riversidetheatre.org/chipmunkd/
COVID protocols: Masks required
Content warning: Appropriate for adults and older teenage audiences. Contains adult language and mature themes.
Artist’s website: megangogerty.com/plays
Those in the opening night audience Sept. 9 should check themselves for hernias after laughing so hard. Only in the brilliant workings of Gogerty’s mind could a chipmunk playing possum bite her, rippling her Iowa City universe with multiple medical trips, a skating trip and a newfangled toilet. All of which creates a laugh-a-minute 80-minute solo-ish show that masquerades as a TMI love letter to her lover, Rich.
This is Gogerty’s sixth solo show, but it’s solo-ish, since we hear other voices through hilarious texts on-screen and in voice-overs, including comments from Rich.
After the production, Riverside co-founder Jody Hovland described Gogerty as “fearless.” So is Rich. The couple’s most intimate moments and scenarios are woven throughout the show, which made me wince a little at first, but Gogerty has a magical way of reeling you in and casting off your disquietude.
And always lurking in the background is the undead chipmunk.
So many questions: Why wasn’t the critter really most sincerely dead? Why did it take so long to agonize over a rabies test? Why didn’t Gogerty’s roller skate turn when she did? How did the toilet turn her into a hand-puppet? Why did Rich agree to splay his personal predicament all over this play?
You’ll just have to go and see for yourself.
“Chipmunk’d” is Gogerty at her smart, sexy best. She’s also gathered her smart, sexy posse by having frequent collaborator Saffron Henke guiding and directing her and Rich creating the deceptively simple production design. Never has so much been done with a chaise lounge gliding saucily around the stage, bathed in dramatic fashion from stage lighting and Gogerty’s inner glow.
This intimate, world-premiere production is an ideal way to launch Riverside Theatre’s first full season in its new home — a season, full of mystery, intrigue and groundbreaking conversations, just like “Chipmunk’d,” but not in such a funny vein.
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