Speech and Debate | American Theater Company | Theater & Performance | Chicago Reader

Speech and Debate The Short List (Theater) Closing (Theater and Galleries)

When: Thursdays-Sundays. Continues through June 23 2013

If high schoolers were universally quick to offer one another emotional support, spoke primarily in well-organized paragraphs, and were given to philosophizing ("The best thing about being young is being envied"), Stephen Karam's tale of three misfit, sex-addled teens conspiring to expose their pedophile teacher might possess a shred of credibility. But they don't, and it doesn't. The show was a hit for American Theater Company in 2008 despite tortured plotting, insubstantial musical numbers, and extended diddling with heavyweight issues like abortion, underage sex, and gay conversion therapy. Perhaps the play would pack a punch as a black comedy, but with an indistinct tone and two-note performances, director PJ Paparelli's remount is a hollow exercise. —Justin Hayford

Price: $38-$43

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