The Project(s) | American Theater Company | Theater & Performance | Chicago Reader

The Project(s) Recommended New Review (Theater and Comedy) The Short List (Theater) Image Closing (Theater and Galleries)

When: Fridays-Sundays. Continues through July 23 2017

I didn't see the late PJ Paparelli's full-fledged 2015 production of this documentary play culled from oral histories of former residents of since-demolished CHA projects, but if this abridged ATC Youth Ensemble version bears any resemblance to it, I hope it is remounted soon. Navigating in and around an imposing wooden-crate-like model of an apartment building—all exposed two-by-fours, chain-link fencing, and glaring electric lights—the talented high-schoolers' voices crisscross into a polyphony of positive and negative anecdotes of lives in Chicago public housing. Though it's at times jarring to hear teenagers delivering bits of old people's memories, they add to the poignancy of the piece as an elegy for communities that have now disappeared, never to return. Aside from the large, wobbly, rotating structure at center stage, the only other significant stage decor is a collection of cardboard moving boxes with their owners' names scrawled on the sides, containing links to a past they alternately mourn and celebrate. Abridged by Jess McCleod and Sarah Slight. Directed by Monty Cole. —Dmitry Samarov

Price: $15 suggested donation

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