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  A Small Fire at Steep Theatre

A Small Fire

Steep Theatre
1115 West Berwyn Avenue Chicago

In A Small Fire, John and Emily's lives are upended when Emily is struck by a mysterious disease. As Emily's condition strips away her senses, she is left to find her true self and true love. Bock's redemptive story of a family's journey from loss to hope premiered at Playwrights Horizon in New York in 2011.

Thru - Aug 16, 2014

Price: $20-$22

Show Type: Drama

Box Office: 866-811-4111

  A Small Fire Reviews
  • Highly Recommended
  • Recommended
  • Somewhat Recommended
  • Not Recommended

Chicago Tribune - Somewhat Recommended

"...One senses that all were at pains to avoid sentimentality, a fine impulse given what is transpiring. Bathos does not serve this script. But it's also important that the characters are empathetic, especially given the note of joyful rebellion with which the play ends - and Riemer, although another fine actor, makes Emily so cool to the touch that her initial vitality, which provides the requisite contrast with so much that follows, feels almost like a pejorative. Simply put, we have to like her more to really feel alongside her. What she is going through, God knows, is all too familiar."
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Chris Jones

Chicago Sun Times - Recommended

"...Steep Theatre, which previously produced Bock's oddly sinister play, "The Receptionist," is now presenting the Chicago premiere of "A Small Fire," directed by Joanie Schultz. On the surface it is the portrait of a long-lived but unsatisfying marriage that is sent into a tailspin when the wife is suddenly struck by an unspecified disease that robs her of her senses very shortly before her daughter is to be married. But, as this woman herself asks at a crucial moment: Is it all just a dream?"
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Hedy Weiss

Windy City Times - Somewhat Recommended

"...Fortunately, Joanie Schultz and the Steep Theatre ensemble are accomplished at forging dramatic through-lines from the slightest of textual cues. With microscopic precision, they invest each character with sympathy-generating nuance to render every ambiguous moment of Bock's priapal-romantic parable an exemplary exercise in emotional truth and conviction."

Mary Shen Barnidge

Time Out Chicago - Recommended

"...Riemer's performance can veer a bit too flinty, but for the most part all four actors (including James Allen as Emily's designated protege, here mostly to deliver a movingly contextualizing late speech to Koon's James) tackle the situation with braveness and honesty, with composer and sound designer Thomas Dixon's ominous aural environment eerily enhancing the unease that smolders beneath Bock's kindling."
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Kris Vire

ChicagoCritic - Recommended

"...The performances are terrific, and the play accomplishes the goal of presenting a riveting emotional tour of human struggle. A Small Fire is geared towards adult audiences who enjoy character-driven dramas about difficult topics. Those who venture to Steep Theatre will see an intense dramatic depiction of a personal struggle and a familyís commitment toward her. The dedicated performances makes for wonderful theatre."
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Kevin Armistead

Chicago Stage Standard - Somewhat Recommended

"...Robert Koon and Julia Siple as her husband and daughter are harder to key into, but that may be the play's fault. Their somewhat stilted expression in the roles makes the characters unsympathetic as they deal with the nearly invalid Emily in a callous, forgetful manner. James Allen brings nice energy and a smile to the role of Billy's, Emily's co-worker. Heather Gilbert's sensory lighting design brings out shades of "Wait Until Dark", and even Hitchcock films in the terror and suspense brought on by Emily's body betraying itself."

Will Cameron

The Fourth Walsh - Highly Recommended

"...A SMALL FIRE evokes plenty of musings as I put myself in each characterís shoes. How would I handle a dramatic twist in one of my significant relationships? Or how would I respond to being dependent? Usually, Steepís edgy dramas deal with volatile external forces. This time, the implosion is on the inside. Steep holds up the mirror for personal reflection."
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Katy Walsh

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