Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2015-09-02
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

Theater Reveiw: Zero
by Jonathan Abarbanel
2009-05-13

facebook twitter pin it del.icio.us stumble upon digg google +1 reddit email


Playwright: Chris O'Connell. At: Oracle Theatre, 3809 N. Broadway. Phone: 773-224-2980; www.oracletheatre.org; $20. Runs through: June 21. Photo by Angela Glyda

This year-old play by British author Chris O'Connell seems as timely as the headlines: extraordinary rendition, hard questioning, torture and internments beyond public scrutiny or the law, all in the name of counter-terrorism. In O'Connell's play set in the near future, a private-enterprise police state called the Global Economic Alliance operates scores of facilities around the world where nameless thousands are held—some guilty but most not. Into this particular Camp Zero ( as they are called ) enter Alex, a translator, and Tom, a grunt guard. Striking up a friendship, they are horrified by what they see, by the typical bland face of torture and by the moral bankruptcy behind the policy. But how do they blow the whistle?

O'Connell's play pays homage—knowingly or not—to several sources. An early scene with Alex and Tom echoes Harold Pinter's hired assassins Gus and Ben in The Dumb Waiter. Still later, Zero offers a Sarah Kane slant with its in-your-face nihilistic violence; an homage to the extremely gifted and deeply disturbed British author who completed five brutally poetic plays before killing herself in 1999. Hey, if you're going to borrow influences, these are good ones ( although Kane's meteoric influence has waned in Europe even as America still is discovering her ) .

But along the way, Zero loses itself. The story all but disappears and the play becomes entirely character-driven as Alex confronts his superiors and secretly decides to write a spill-the-beans book. By midpoint there's no more character to be revealed and the play becomes repetitive. With its closed physical universe ( of chain link fence and concrete walls in James Ogden's design ) , neutral amorality and spiritual despair, Zero essentially is a work of Absurdism. Despite his obvious writing skills, O'Connell makes a mistake by introducing a dose of psychological realism that shatters the play's theatrical style and intellectual basis. Alex has a dialog with a prisoner who tells a perfectly believable tale—grounded in the real world—of why he became a bomb radical, thereby breaking the Absurdist conventions. More importantly, Alex's decisions now become influenced by unclean politics rather than by pure moral values. But Zero is not at all about politics. It's about morality and truth, and so it needs to remain. The prisoner must not become a real person.

Under Ben Fuchsen's direction, Carl Wisniewski and David Boren are first-rate as Alex and Tom. Their focused and energetic performances dominate and drive the performance, as they should. Boren alone speaks with an accent ( why? ) sporting an on-target British working-class dialect. Supporting work isn't up to their level, with Bob Chaudry experiencing particular opening night jitters as the commanding officer. As usual, Oracle expands its tiny stage with video technology ( Eric Van Tassell ) enhancing the work's psychological horrors and feeling of constriction.


facebook twitter pin it del.icio.us stumble upon digg google +1 reddit email




Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

THEATER REVIEW Conjoined anew 2015-09-02
THEATER REVIEW The Jacksonian 2015-09-02
THEATER REVIEW After Miss Julie 2015-09-02
THEATER REVIEW The Price 2015-09-02
THEATER REVIEW October Sky 2015-09-02
Theater Spotlight and Critics' Picks 2015-09-02
Play to mark 10th anniv. of Katrina 2015-09-02
Chicago Opera Theater gets largest single gift 2015-09-02
Theater, now on stage and soon to come 2015-09-01
Broadway in Chicago turns 15 in the park 2015-08-28
SCOTTISH PLAY SCOTT Fringe options 2015-08-26
THEATER REVIEW Patchwork Drifter 2015-08-26
THEATER REVIEW Chicago's Role in the Crime of the Century 2015-08-26
Upcoming: Fashion Fest; 'Downton' exhibit; Jeff Awards; Haymarket reading 2015-08-26
Upcoming: Sondheim honored; Play marks 10th Katrina anniversary 2015-08-26
Celebrate with caution 2015-08-25
Bryan Safi has it made in the 'Shade' 2015-08-25
Theater Spotlight on Bad Jews; Critics' Picks 2015-08-25
THEATER REVIEW The Rise and Fall of Little Voice 2015-08-25
THEATER REVIEW Things You Shouldn't Say Past Midnight 2015-08-25
Theater in Chicago: Opening soon and now on stage 2015-08-25
Poet Kit Yan performs Queer Heartache at Chicago Fringe 2015-08-21
Jeff Awards Equity nominations honor 2014-2015 productions 2015-08-21
The Chicago Fringe Festival announce times, places 2015-08-19
SCOTTISH PLAY SCOTT SNL dreams 2015-08-19
THEATER REVIEW Kurios: Cabinet of Curiosities 2015-08-19
THEATER REVIEW The Dueling Gentlemen 2015-08-19
THEATER REVIEW The History of Alcohol in Chicago: A Drinker's Guide 2015-08-19
Theater Spotlight, Critics' Picks 2015-08-19
Upcoming: Cho to marry couples; Chicago Fashion Fest; Horror-film fest 2015-08-18
THEATER REVIEW Art 2015-08-18
Theater in Chicago: Now on stage and opening soon 2015-08-18
Nightspots calendar: The Big To Do 2015-08-12
Shakespeare in the Parks thru Aug. 16 2015-08-12
THEATER REVIEW Stanley in the Name of Love 2015-08-12
THEATER REVIEW We Gotta Bingo! 2015-08-12
THEATER REVIEW Zelda at the Oasis 2015-08-12
OUTspoken! marks one year with rousing stories 2015-08-12
THEATER REVIEW The Boy from Oz 2015-08-12
Theater spotlight and Critics' Picks 2015-08-12
 



Copyright © 2015 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor


 



Sponsor

About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage



About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group produces Windy City Queercast, & publishes Windy City Times,
The Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community,
Nightspots, Out! Resource Guide, and Identity.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.