Tag: Joseph Sultani

Review: A Disappearing Number (TimeLine Theatre)

Dennis William Grimes, Juliet Hart, Siddhartha Rajan and Kareem Bandealy star in Disappearing Number           
      
  

A Disappearing Number

Conceived by Simon McBurney
Devised by Theatre de Complicite
TimeLine Theatre, 615 W. Wellington (map)
thru April 9 |  tix: $38-$46  |  more info
       
Check for half-price tickets   
     

March 2, 2017 | 0 Comments More

Review: The Fundamentals (Steppenwolf Theatre)

Alana Arenas and Audrey Francis star as Millie and Eliza in The Fundamentals, Steppenwolf Theatre             
  

The Fundamentals

Written by Erika Sheffer  
Steppenwolf Theatre, 1650 N. Halsted (map)
thru Dec 31  |  tix: $20-$89  |  more info
       
Check for half-price tickets   
     

November 21, 2016 | 0 Comments More

Review: Othello (Chicago Shakespeare Theater, 2016)

James Vincent Meredith and Bethany Jillard in Othello, Chicago Shakespeare Theatre         
   

      
Othello

Written by William Shakespeare 
Chicago Shakespeare, Navy Pier (map)
thru Apr 10  |  tix: $48-$88  |  more info
       
Check for half-price tickets   
    

March 29, 2016 | 0 Comments More

REVIEW: The Observatory (Viable Theatre Company)

     
    

Treading lightly on show’s darkest themes

     
    

 

The Observatory by Vincent Truman

 
Viable Theatre Company presents
   
The Observatory
  
Written/Directed by Vincent Truman
at
The Charnel House, 3421 W. Fullerton  (map)
through Dec 18   |  tickets: $12-$15   |  more info

Reviewed by Paige Listerud

As necessary a play as The Observatory is, far better to consider it a work in progress than an actual finished product. Viable Theatre Company has mounted it at the Charnel House where its very stark and simple surroundings reflect the writing exactly—a great idea in need of further in-depth development.

Playwright/Director Vincent Truman and assistant directly Angela Jo Strohm bring us the tale of David (Colin Fewell) and Sally (Kasey O’Brien), a young married couple renting out their attic for sorely needed extra cash. The thing is, they rent it out to the government in order to create an “observatory,” a place from which David is contracted to keep eye on a stranger held in detention as part of the War on Terror. Imprisoned in solitary The Observatory by Vincent Truman 2confinement at an unknown location, a 3-D hologram image of the detainee is to be beamed into their attic for David to watch and await a confession. CIA program director Victor (Vincent Truman) reassures David there will be no torture–but David is under contract to not disclose anything he has observed with anyone, including his wife. Also, Sally must never enter the attic when the hologram is being beamed in. Sally and David accept these conditions in anticipation of hundreds of thousands of dollars in return.

Sally already voices qualms about the ethics of David quitting his teaching job and becoming an observer but her consternation really begins once curiosity gets the better of her and she enters the new observatory when the hologram is on. There, she finds David watching a young and attractive female prisoner, Marissa (Kate Lane). From then on, their marriage deteriorates due to Sally’s jealousy and David’s inability to keep his stultifying job as an observer from overtaking his entire life. David’s sexual interest in Marissa grows and their relationship intensifies once he discovers that, from some technological snafu, they can actually communicate with each other.

Given that America has been sucked into a moral morass over torture and indefinite detention, a hellhole from which the Obama administration will not extricate us or even ameliorate, a play like The Observatory couldn’t be timelier. However, Truman’s writing focuses more on the sexual interest between David and Marissa rather than taking bigger risks and digging deeper into his dangerous material. Private Bradley Manning, currently held at Quantico, VA for delivering thousands of government documents to Wikileaks, now shows signs of mental deterioration due to the same solitary confinement conditions that Marissa endures during the play. Lane’s intensity in her portrayal of Marissa is laudable but lacks nuance, given the psychological stress solitary confinement works on the human mind.

Likewise, the play leaves the rest of its characters functioning at a 2-dimensional level and its resolution also strikes exceedingly simplistic moral chords. It’s almost as if the playwright had a failure of nerve, willing to open up torture’s sadistic can of worms but too scared to plunge in. The result is a light skate on top of The Observatory’s frozen surface, where we can still imagine ourselves distant and untouched by the ugliness beneath.

  
  
Rating: ★½
  
  

  
 
December 18, 2010 | 0 Comments More