Love on Caffeine | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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Love on Caffeine

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Love on Caffeine, Welkin Theater Company, at the Chopin Theatre. Unfortunately, most young playwrights portray situations in only the most black-and-white terms. As Diane Herrera paints the trials of youth in her Love on Caffeine, there are only two true keys to happiness: being involved in a relationship or being secure enough not to need one. But surely there's more to the postcollege experience than hanging out at coffee shops and getting laid.

Empathy with Herrera's characters is entirely out of the question. This trio of slacking, depressive theater types isn't even likable, self-absorbed to the point of narcissism. And it's frustrating to see how little effort they put into chasing their dreams. Not surprisingly, the play's second act lacks emotional weight; in a last-ditch effort to regain the audience's interest, Herrera adds slavish pop culture references and cheap one-liners.

Director Chris Counts does a great job navigating the awkward space of the studio at the Chopin Theatre, but his modest staging is marred by poor sight lines. And the play remains an archetypal example of twentysomething theater at its worst: boring, hollow, and anticlimactic. Perhaps there's a fresh perspective to be found on this culture, but Love on Caffeine assuredly doesn't provide one. --Nick Green

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