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  Accidentally Like a Martyr at A Red Orchid Theatre

Accidentally Like a Martyr

A Red Orchid Theatre
1531 N. Wells Street Chicago

In a dive-y gay bar on Manhattan's lower east side the regulars and the restless others do battle, joke and drink their way through a lonely winter evening. Different generations and backgrounds collide, secrets are revealed and old wounds are torn anew as these survivors come to grips with life, loss and aging in the 21st century. Family and friendship are the focus of this humor filled drama in the tradition of The Time of Your Life and Small Craft Warnings.

Thru - Mar 15, 2015

Price: $30-$35

Show Type: Comedy/Drama

Box Office: 312-943-8722

Running Time: 1hr, 20mins

Nearby Restaurants

  Accidentally Like a Martyr Reviews
  • Highly Recommended
  • Recommended
  • Somewhat Recommended
  • Not Recommended

Chicago Tribune - Recommended

"...Murray's immersive production is staged in what feels like an actual bar, except that it is a re-creation by the designer John Holt. The well of pain is close enough to be able to pour oneself a grasshopper, although this play articulates the timeless truth that we all reach a point where it is better to go home, especially if a loving someone waits for us there."
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Chris Jones

Chicago Sun Times - Highly Recommended

"...Grant James Varjas’ play, “Accidentally, Like a Martyr,” which looks at the lives of several lonely, troubled men who gather in a long-established gay bar a few days before Christmas, is full of bitchy snap, crackle and pop dialogue. But what really keeps you watching and listening in the Chicago premiere of the work by A Red Orchid Theatre is the cast — a gathering of topnotch Chicago actors, directed by Shade Murray. Deploying their most breathtaking ensemble skills, these actors bring a remarkable “photo realist” effect to this tightly wrought if somewhat regressive drama."
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Hedy Weiss

Chicago Reader - Highly Recommended

"...Not that the mood is dour. As at many dives, the pendulum swings from fun to sad and back again several times in one evening. Varjas’s evident compassion for his flawed characters is beautifully complemented in Shade Murray’s staging by the sensitive and detailed performances of the cast, especially Layne Manzer as a desperate cokehead and Steve Haggard as a rare under-30 visitor. The rundown bar and its seedy atmosphere are captured with precision by Murray and set designer John Holt."
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Zac Thompson

Windy City Times - Highly Recommended

"...However old-school Varjas' life-in-the-big-city aesthetic may come off in 2015, it constitutes the perfect showcase for a superlative ensemble performing under the direction of Shade Murray, commanded by Troy West and Doug Vickers as the tribal elders, Layne Manzer and Steve Haggard as its prodigals and Dominique Worsely as its patiently vigilant governor, dispensing hooch and compassion. The results are a watering-hole ambience so comfortable, you might want to spend a year or two in it yourself."

Mary Shen Barnidge

Time Out Chicago - Highly Recommended

"...The gay status quo in America has already seen remarkable changes in just the few years since the play's debut. But Martyr makes a strong case for a spot alongside the likes of The Boys in the Band and Love! Valour! Compassion! as snapshots of a moment in the movement."
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Kris Vire

Chicago On the Aisle - Highly Recommended

"...Directed with an impeccable touch by Shade Murray, A Red Orchid’s production boasts a near-perfect ensemble performance by the five actors at the story’s core: four characters in search of meaning and a bar tender who serves in the multiple capacities native to that profession – confessor, mediator, counselor, even referee."
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Lawrence B. Johnson

Stage and Cinema - Highly Recommended

"...In Lanford Wilson-style, these desultory, blackout-quick encounters are, of course, the plot. Bittersweet with thwarted longing (very much in the vein of Tennessee Williams), they're much less hilarious than some in the audience wanted: They're too real to need a laugh track. Indeed, one fumbling attempt at affection passing as romance is very moving. It confers an unsought dignity on, as the title implies, Varjas's accidental martyrs."
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Lawrence Bommer

ChicagoCritic - Recommended

"...Accidentally, Like a Martyr is a true ensemble work containing outstanding performances, especially from Doug Vickers as the old queen and Steve Haggard as the grieving 30something. This 85 minute one-act is haunting as it vividly depicts how a special community of gay men gather over drinks to deal with their angst. Humor and poignancy combine for a worthy drama."
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Tom Williams

Around The Town Chicago - Highly Recommended

"...Smoothly directed by Shade Murray is an ensemble piece requiring a great deal from the actors, and Murray gets it done. I must also give credit to fight co-ordinator Ryan Bourque for a job well done. Remember, we are very close to the action and the fight scene appeared very real. The story, for the record is a sort of sit-com where these bar patrons do verbal battle, joke with each others and drink, to excess in what appears a regular routine. There were some time sequences that were a bit confusing, but never took away from the strength of this cast."
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Alan Bresloff

NewCity Chicago - Recommended

"...Shade Murray's direction is subtle and yet strong. In the script some characters are more fully developed than others, but through carefully guided moments that consist of shared looks and silent exchanges, Murray's cast fleshes them all out into real folks who we've all likely encountered before. And we feel for them all deeply as they struggle with the burden of being survivors."
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Christopher Kidder-Mostrom

Chicago Theatre Review - Highly Recommended

"...This production begins with a finely nuanced, well-written script, and features a talented cast in a smoothly directed production enhanced by realistic detail. John Holt’s dive is an actual working bar, decorated with fliers, Christmas lights and providing the appropriate entrances and exits to restrooms and the wintry outside world. A pulsating sound design created by Brando Triantafillou and suitable mood lighting by Rachel K. Levy lends a genuine air of authenticity to the environment. The audience, seated safely behind the counter, can enjoy Jeffrey’s expert mixology as he disperses cocktails and clear thinking to everyone at his bar. All that’s missing are refreshments for the voyeurs."
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Colin Douglas

Chicagoland Theater Reviews - Highly Recommended

"...“Accidentally, Like a Martyr” is a small play in length and it doesn’t try for too much. The characters are audience high--human and sympathetic, trying to get by as best they can. Mostly Varjas provides red meat roles that the Red Orchid ensemble devours. Seekers after fine acting and finely tuned staging should be well pleased. The title comes from a rueful romantic song recorded in 1978 by rock composer Warren Zevon. The moral of the story may be that love can cause much pain, no matter what the lover’s sexual preference."

Dan Zeff

The Fourth Walsh - Highly Recommended

"...I highly recommend ACCIDENTALLY, LIKE A MARTYR. The story is so authentically engaging that you might want to stay until close and meet Worsley’s late night crowd. I know I wouldn’t mind hanging out at this bar again. Here’s to a long run… I’ll drink to that!"
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Katy Walsh

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   This show has been Jeff Recommended*

*The designation of "Jeff Recommended" is given to a production when at least ONE ELEMENT of the show was deemed outstanding by the Joseph Jefferson Awards Committee.

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