Insomniacts | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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INSOMNIACTS, Dramatist Revolutionary Army, at the Chopin Theatre. Most playwrights, I suspect, have a play like Insomniacts hidden away somewhere--an earnest, deadly serious, not particularly well written play that communicates volumes about the playwright's desire to say something profound and not much else. Chekhov envisions just this kind of work in the god-awful "play of the future" by a callow young writer at the beginning of The Seagull.

Happily, most playwrights recognize early on that their darling piece is not good enough for public performance, and the play gets packed away. Jamie-Lee Wise was not so lucky. It seems no one ever took him aside during the writing of this play--or during the casting or rehearsal of this show--to tell him, look, this play makes no sense and is not the least bit entertaining or interesting. He didn't even have the benefit of a director's eye since he staged his own work.

As a result we all suffer for two deadly hours while Wise's characters indulge in ever more frantic activity--cruel interrogations, topless sex scenes, screaming fits, temper tantrums--trying to make up for the play's lack of a coherent story line.

--Jack Helbig

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