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  An Oak Tree at Athenaeum Theatre

An Oak Tree

Athenaeum Theatre
2936 N. Southport Chicago

Two Actors. One has rehearsed the play. The second has never even read it. Performed by a different person each night, the second actor will discover the play and their role at the same time as you do. In this Midwest Premiere by Tim Crouch, An Oak Tree asks, how do we transform our world in order to survive our pain? How do we create our own reality? Anything can happen in this play that illuminates the magic of theater - a cheap trick and a genuine spell all at once.

Presented by Red Theater

Thru - Dec 9, 2018

Show Type: Drama

Box Office: 773-935-6875

Athenaeum Theatre Seating Chart

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  An Oak Tree Reviews
  • Highly Recommended
  • Recommended
  • Somewhat Recommended
  • Not Recommended

Chicago Reader - Somewhat Recommended

"...Director Jeremy Aluma guides Wallace as she feeds lines to Gonzalez-Citadel, explicitly telling her what to say in front of the audience or whispering directions to her through a microphone that feeds to headphones she is wearing. Initially this is fascinating, leaving one wondering, at first breathlessly, then impatiently, when Gonzalez-Citadel will be allowed to break free and improvise her own responses. Sadly, this moment never comes. Instead Wallace hands her the written script. This is not a collaboration; it is a benevolent dictatorship of a staged reading."
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Sheri Flanders

Windy City Times - Recommended

"...Director Jeremy Aluma, who also worked with Red on The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity, is a good match for Tim Crouch's discursive script. Bits of dialogue that involve the actors speaking in character are interspersed with moments where the second actor questions motives and emotions and asks basic script questions one might have in a rehearsal. Aluma keeps Wallace confident but light, having him simply and humorously engage his scene partner with clear encouragement about a tough exercise. Aluma keeps the staging simple, with Wallace pantomining other characters experiencing hypnosis onstage, and with overturned chairs forming the obstacles that pop up between the characters. A piano stool comes to mean far more than it initially seems by play's end."
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Sarah Katherine Bowden

Splash Magazine - Recommended

"...The hypnotist stutters under his burden of control and lets loose with expletives and inappropriate grins and snickers. Andy isn't free to do much improvising, but struggles against the hypnotic fetters. At some point, more questions arise: Who is manipulating whom? Who sought out whom? Are any of us able to accept loss head-on, to forgive each other, to forgive ourselves? The play is unsettling and affecting, it shakes our complacent linear dramatic sensibilities, just like life's tragedies, and it fools with our sense of time, place and self. How can we bear to face the here and now without filters, without magic?"
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Debra Davy

Chicago Theatre Review - Highly Recommended

"...I am encouraging you to attend this performance not because I can guarantee you anything, but because this production can guarantee you a truly original and unique performance. I canít tell you to attend this performance because it will move you to tears or side-splitting laughter, even though it did this for me. In modern society, we are over-saturated with media and opinions. No one wants to waste their time on something that had less than 5 stars and plenty of arbitrary reviews. Why not throw caution to the wind and go to this show?"
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Sophie Vitello

Third Coast Review - Somewhat Recommended

"...An Oak Tree is an intriguing experience of dream and reality. Under hypnosis, certain things happen to Actor Two that are deeply troubling. But thereís also a segment where she happily plays a syncopated solo on an invisible piano. Overall, the loss of a child is a heart-wrenching experience for a parent, and the play asks us how we can overcome such a loss. But in effect, An Oak Tree is more an intellectual experience than an emotional one. Itís brain, not heart."
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Nancy Bishop

Picture This Post - Highly Recommended

"...While the format might be out of the ordinary, AN OAK TREE is a great show for anyone who likes their shows to be thought provoking and wants to see a show that goes outside the standard theatre formula. For those who enjoy a more light hearted or traditional theatre experience, this one might not be for you."
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Alexis Bugajski

  An Oak Tree Photo Gallery

   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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