Serbian playwright Ugljesa Sajtinac insists that he's not writing about his nation's political troubles in the 2004 play Huddersfield, now receiving its engrossing U.S. premiere from TUTA Theatre Chicago. A coming-of-age domestic drama, it resembles Mike Leigh's Ecstasy or Eric Bogosian's SubUrbia, centering on 30-year-old burnout Rasha and his friends Doole and Igor, who spend a day drinking, smoking pot, and trying to come to terms with adulthood. Huddersfield even has the keenly observed, hypernaturalistic dialogue of those plays, fully exploited by director Dado's passionate six-member cast. But politics seeps into every scene: the three friends' approaches to adulthood--nihilism, escapism, and blind optimism--mirror the country's efforts to find a national identity in the 90s. Huddersfield is the first of two contemporary Serbian plays TUTA is producing in 2006, offering a glimpse into a unique, vibrant corner of world theater. Through 7/8: Thu-Sat 8 PM, Sun 3 PM, Victory Gardens Theater, second-floor studio, 2257 N. Lincoln, 773-871-3000, $15-$20, industry shows Thu and Sun.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Andrew Rothenberg.