Merge | Den Theatre | Theater & Performance | Chicago Reader

Merge Closing (Theater and Galleries) The Short List (Theater) Image

When: Thursdays-Sundays. Continues through Nov. 13 2016

Atari's rise and fall is one of the iconic cautionary tales of the computer era. Founded in 1972, the company built the video game industry on such mesmeric amusements as Pong, Pac-Man, Asteroids, and Centipede—growing exponentially before imploding in the early 80s. Spenser Davis's new play tells the tale in formidable, often fascinating detail, from primitive antecedents through creative thefts, fateful buyouts, and clueless managers to the arrival of Nintendo in 1985. It's necessarily chaotic material, given the convulsive events and eccentric personalities involved. But chaos sometimes gets the better of Andrew Hobgood's 100-minute staging for the New Colony. Pacing the show itself as if it were a Pac-Man game is only amusing until it starts to warp the narrative and stunt characters. Still, Wes Needham, Lindsey Pearlman, and Omer Abbas Salem manage to stay vivid throughout. —Tony Adler

Price: $20

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