Big Time | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Keith Reddin's Reagan-era one-act about an investment banker taken hostage by Islamic radicals is more potent now than ever. Its protagonist, Paul, embodies oil-dependent America's determination to fight Muslim militancy without addressing the poverty and injustice fueling that antagonism. Eventually Paul's self-absorbed misreadings of every situation cause his business deal and his romantic relationship to fall apart. The play crackles with sharp satire and chilling drama in Steve Scott's beautifully acted, emotionally nuanced staging for the Eclipse Theatre Company; this production actually surpasses the work's impressive 1987 Remains Theatre world premiere, which starred William Petersen. Brian McCaskill registers each shattering step of Paul's life-transforming journey. Janelle Snow is haunting as Paul's lover, a woman gripped by destructive dissatisfaction with her life. And Kareem Bandealy arouses both fear and sympathy as Paul's kidnapper, a revolutionary who reveals the false assumptions behind Paul's delusions of U.S. superiority. Through 12/19: Thu-Sat 8 PM, Sun 3 PM. Sat 11/27, 3 and 8 PM. No show Thu 11/25. Victory Gardens Theater, second-floor studio, 2257 N. Lincoln, 773-871-3000. $16-$22.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Johnny Knight.

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