Simon | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader
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Simon, Everyman Theatre Company, at Bailiwick Arts Center. The title character in Jack Rucker's new 70-minute drama believes he has the ability to cause terrible things to happen to people just by having evil thoughts about them. In an attempt to save society from harm, he's lived in isolation since he was a child, but now he ventures out to ease his loneliness and, after meeting a girl, to seek help from a psychologist in controlling his "affliction."

Aaron Preusse portrays Simon as a man reacting to the world with all the intensity and awkwardness of a 12-year-old, turning a character who could be dismissed as crazy into someone who earns our sympathy. Unfortunately, all the other characters behave in ways that are dramatically convenient but unmotivated--it's as if Rucker was so focused on his plot arc he didn't bother to fully flesh them out.

The script's flaws are only exacerbated by Nathan Sanford's distracting staging. This ensemble's inaugural show is performed in the round, which makes the blocking unrealistic and creates many blind spots for the audience. The weak fight choreography also deprives the show's violence of any edge.

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