The Awake | Collaboraction | Theater & Performance | Chicago Reader

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

When: Thursdays-Sundays. Continues through March 12 2016

Playwright Ken Urban's The Awake is a cutthroat psychological thriller that crams an action-movie’s worth of torture cells, helicopter rescues, and tearful hospital scenes into a play less than two hours long. How does it manage to muster such excitement, and how does First Floor Theater pull it off in a tiny black-box theater on a shoestring budget? By having the actors narrate everything that happens to them rather than trying to show it happening. Granted, this solution put a third of the audience to sleep—theater, especially small theater, is a “show don’t tell” kind of art form. But while talk is cheap, pyrotechnics are expensive. By far the best scenes come in the show's last half hour, when people—exciting, living people—start to emerge from their intricate webs of association and actually do something, even if it's just talking to each other. —Max Maller

Price: $10-$20

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