Recent Tragic Events | Athenaeum Theatre | Theater & Performance | Chicago Reader

Recent Tragic Events The Short List (Theater) Recommended Image Closing (Theater and Galleries)

When: Thursdays-Sundays. Continues through April 10 2016

Craig Wright's play concerns a young Minneapolis couple on a blind date the evening after the World Trade Center attacks of September 11, 2001. When bookstore manager Andrew (Matthew Nerber) arrives at the apartment of advertising executive Waverly (Laura Berner), he finds her preoccupied with the possibility that her twin sister, who lives in New York, might have been caught in the catastrophe. Plans to dine out are dropped in favor of staying by the phone and watching the news unfold on TV; and Andrew's hopes of spending time alone with Waverly are interrupted by the arrival of her jazz-musician neighbor Ron (Maximillian Lapine) and his companion Nancy (Rachel Christianson). When it premiered in 2003, Recent Tragic Events struck some critics as a distasteful trivialization of 9/11. But 15 years on—at least in this excellent Interrobang Theatre Project production, extremely well acted under Georgette Verdin's crisp direction—the play effectively captures the eerie atmosphere of the historical moment it depicts, when people were just trying to process a new sense of urgency and anxiety in American life. Wright (a former writer for Six Feet Under) teases questions about inevitability, chance, and free will, but the philosophical speculation is grounded in engaging characters and framed by some playful absurdist metatheatrical devices, including the onstage presence of a stage manager calling light cues and the unexpected appearance of novelist Joyce Carol Oates, portrayed by a sock puppet. —Albert Williams

Price: $24, $17 students and seniors

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