Thom Pain (Based on Nothing) | Heartland Studio Theatre | Theater & Performance | Chicago Reader

Thom Pain (Based on Nothing) The Short List (Theater) Image Closing (Theater and Galleries)

When: Thursdays-Sundays. Continues through Aug. 6 2016

Jake Baker plays a remorseful, socially inept man named Thom Pain in this Pulitzer-nominated 2004 solo show by Will Eno, presented by Dear Stone Theater Company. Unresolved issues from childhood and the lingering effects of a bad breakup have left Pain incapable of meeting life’s challenges; his sole worldly possession is a dictionary. Baker’s performance is fluent, even charming, but the play itself is so painfully awkward that it ends up feeling akin to a hostage situation. Like lots of lonely people who suddenly obtain a captive audience, Pain doesn’t know how to stop talking once he starts—his sentences run away from him, and any jokes he attempts dwindle away before their punch lines. Thom Pain may pretend to be about the fundamental emptiness of life, but it's really a play about feeling alone and needing to talk. And talk. And talk. —Max Maller

Price: $15


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