Chicago Dramatists does it again. The final offering of their 2011/2012 season is an amazing work by resident playwright Andrew Hinderaker. The plot can be summed up as such: John Chapman has big, big dreams, all of which seem to culminate on his 35th birthday by which time he wants to be a billionaire. He graduated from U of C as valedictorian and is scheduled to have an interview with Goldman Sachs. But the day of his interview he oversleeps and it all goes to hell from there. That in and of itself is enough to make one curious, no? I can’t tell much more of the story without giving it away. Suffice it to say, you really should see this play before it ends July 1st.
The story line weaves back and forth between Gary Indiana (where Chapman lives) and downtown Chicago. Desperation creeps in from nearly the beginning of the story and the struggles of the main character are painful, literally. The rest of the cast wonderfully fills out the storyline, trying to help Chapman find his way out of a dark hole. His best friend, played by Ed Flynn, will make you laugh and tear up in nearly the same moment.
Chicago Dramatists’ black box stage is brilliantly transformed into separate spaces. Images alternately from Gary and the Loop are projected completing that transition. The direction team uses video and internet technology for a couple of very powerful scenes that give you insight into what Chapman is doing, without a word of dialog. Two poignant scenes are exactly the opposite – you are thrust into the dark and only the dialog exists, bringing you straight to the heart of the matter.
Chicago Dramatists is located at 1105 W. Chicago Avenue. Performances are Thursday through Saturday nights, and a Sunday matinee. For more information and to purchase tickets visit www.chicagodramatists.org