Package | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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Package, Mary-Arrchie Theatre. Though Scott Stuart's new one-act Package aims to resonate on a political level, its most interesting drama lies in the relationships of the three main characters. Vera is a xerox artist who produces volumes of flyers (whose messages we never learn), Nat is an annoying street clown who relies on Vera for shelter, and Netch is Vera's psychopathic ex, who returns to reclaim a package he left with her. The main question raised by the setup is why this woman--who holds down a job, has an apartment, and seems passionate about her political goals and her art--would allow these life-sucking men near her. Unfortunately, Stuart doesn't seem as interested in this question as he is in Netch's destructive behavior. And the politics of the personal we see played out onstage carry much more dramatic weight than the acts we hear about through exposition--leafleting, killing, performing--that are supposed to represent the characters' politics.

Fortunately, a strong ensemble helps give Package some dimension and keeps the production alive, if not altogether clear. Mierka Girten makes Vera sympathetic and believable; Richard Cotovsky fills out the character of Netch nicely, walking a thin line between nice guy and crazy man; and Christopher Ellis makes Nat the one purely humane figure in a room filled with rage turned to destruction.

--Gabrielle S. Kaplan

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