Trust | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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TRUST, Thirsty Theater, at Pilsen Arts Center. If Steven Dietz ever gets tired of writing plays, he has a bright future in TV. Like any soap opera worth its salt, Trust is highly artificial and hopelessly hollow, as Dietz attempts to portray the intersection of six lives against a seedy rock 'n' roll backdrop. For a short spell, he even succeeds at making his characters' struggles seem credible.

Problem is, Dietz has trouble connecting the characters with one another and keeping them consistent. Would-be rock star Cody Brown wavers between violent fits of jealousy and self-emasculation; his fiancee, Becca, is both virgin and whore. Dietz's hackneyed, ho-hum dialogue doesn't help. It's a testament to the actors' professionalism that they manage to refrain from giggling while forced to utter god-awful lines ("There were times where she felt like she'd spent her entire adult life looking through her purse") for two whole hours.

Though J. Allen Wilson's multilevel industrial set gives the small storefront space some much-needed depth, director Lawrence Keller's staging remains stagnant; he and his cast simply place too much trust in the script. With the exception of Shannon O'Neil's nuanced turn as the sex-starved, star-crazed Holly, the actors play their characters only on the surface. Thirsty Theater demonstrates some promise, but its reckless, uninformed production pushes even fewer boundaries than Dietz's shallow play. --Nick Green

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