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  Beyond Caring at Lookingglass Theatre

Beyond Caring

Lookingglass Theatre
821 N Michigan Ave Chicago

This critically-acclaimed piece, most recently produced at the UK's National Theatre and re-imagined for Chicago by writer/director Alexander Zeldin, is a gritty portrait of those who cling precariously to the bottom rung of the ladder. Full of life, humor, and tenderness, it sheds light on America's shadow economy and shines an unflinching spotlight on the incendiary intersection of race and class.

Thru - May 7, 2017

Price: $40-$75

Show Type: Drama

Box Office: 312-337-0665

Running Time: 1hr, 30mins

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  Beyond Caring Reviews
  • Highly Recommended
  • Recommended
  • Somewhat Recommended
  • Not Recommended

Chicago Tribune - Highly Recommended

"..."Beyond Caring" is not really about the script so much as the actors inhabiting the roles of the nouveau-ordinary workers with the kind of intensity that historically has defined Chicago theater. This is a piece - produced with much skin in the game - that is very much in the tradition of Nelson Algren, "The Jungle" and Studs Terkel."
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Chris Jones

Chicago Sun Times - Highly Recommended

"...The magic of Zeldin's production is rooted in several things: the intimacy of those scenes in which this group of intensely private and self-protective people occasionally connect; the devastating loneliness that can be sensed in their many silences; the sheer brute physicality of their labor."
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Hedy Weiss

Chicago Reader - Highly Recommended

"...Though it doesn't ask to be enjoyed, Beyond Caring is a deeply moving indictment of oppression. With utter clarity, it harkens a day of reckoning for the lives it honors."
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Max Maller

Windy City Times - Highly Recommended

"...It can be argued, quite rightly, that somebody has to perform these unpleasant tasks-wastebaskets don't empty themselves, after all, nor is restroom paper restocked by elvish magic. Where opinions differ, however, is in determining the extent of the recognition deserved by those whose livelihood is dependent on such drudgery. If the takeaway of audiences, after 90 intermissionless minutes of dialogue stripped bare of actorly flourish, is a heightened awareness of, and empathy for, a segment of our society until recently nearly invisible, Zeldin and the Lookingglass Theatre Company will have accomplished their reformist goals."
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Mary Shen Barnidge

Time Out Chicago - Somewhat Recommended

"...The cast's fine, thoughtful performances would go a long way toward redeeming this odd piece if it remained merely as obviously monotonous as one of these late-night shifts would be. But in the play's last scenes Zeldin turns the exploitation dial up to 11, and Beyond Caring dissolves into a desperation zoo, where well-off audience members can observe the purported behaviors of the poor in an unnatural habitat."
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Kris Vire

Stage and Cinema - Recommended

"...Not quite a call to arms like The Jungle, How The Other Half Lives, or Waiting for Lefty, Beyond Caring still challenges with its despairing or accusatory title. This is the daily grind for many former dreamers, young people afflicted with old souls. You could call this one-act a sardonic tribute to untold contemporary slaves. But, no, they're not untold. Or even unfelt. That's the ultimate triumph of Lookingglass's very harsh mirror."
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Lawrence Bommer

ChicagoCritic - Somewhat Recommended

"...I got what the playwright was trying to dramatize but he could have cut some of the redundant scenes and the long silent moments. Less can be more. Why bore your audience? At the show's end several audience members expressed their dislike of the work. Tedium seemed to win the day. This show would have worked better with more story, more character development in a faster-paced presentation. We get the message, just don't bore us to death."
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Tom Williams

Around The Town Chicago - Recommended

"...On the technical side, I loved the music (Josh Anio Grigg, who also did the sound/hard to hear at times) and Mara Blumenfeld's costumes were very realistic. The hardest worker on tech had to be the Properties designer, Amanda Hermann, who probably spent a great deal of time at her local Ace or cleaning supply outlet. She covered it all and the machines they used reminded me of my days of working in a factory."
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Alan Bresloff

NewCity Chicago - Recommended

"...There is a nagging and distressing question underlying "Beyond Caring," one so often present in art that unveils some new layer of human depravity: what, as the audience of this fiction, do we do with it? We applaud its bravery and artistic merits. We consider our awareness raised. Those in a position to give do so in accordance to their perceived means. And that's all well and good for Alexander Zeldin, Lookingglass and those involved in the production. But in some respects "Beyond Caring" let's us off the hook too easily, the medium eventually overwhelming the message. Guilt is largely an ineffective motivating factor in capitalism, the rules of which theater is not immune to. But perhaps, given the real villain of this show, that is precisely the point."
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Kevin Greene

Chicago Theatre Review - Highly Recommended

"...Alexander Zeldin’s drama which, at times, is laced with some unexpected humor, depicts the kind of desperate, unnoticed workers who are trapped in a meat grinder of life. Working at a sausage plant for minimum wages, these sanitary engineers are treated as the lowest of the low. They’re merely janitors, employees whose job includes cleaning the disgusting messes left behind by those higher up the employment ladder. Housed within a realistic stage setting that immerses the theatergoer into the middle of this blue collar work environment, it’s impossible not to leave this production feeling something for each of these five, sad characters. They’re all trapped in a life from which there’s little hope for escape."
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Colin Douglas

Chicagoland Theater Reviews - Recommended

"...The playwright certainly deserves high marks for dramatizing the plight of temp workers so persuasively. Will his work contribute to rectifying the injustices of temp worker abuses? Who knows? But I may never again drive through the Loop after dark and look up at the lit office buildings without sympathizing with the night corps of laborers cleaning rest rooms and gathering trash, floor by floor and hour by hour."

Dan Zeff

The Fourth Walsh - Highly Recommended

"...This show is a 'must see' not for its theatrical storytelling but for its clear depiction of the working poor. Zeldin captures the cycle of poverty in his superb storytelling. People need to experience that working people are starving, homeless and going without medication because they can't afford to live. This is an especially critical comprehension in the current political climate where the country is led by the wealthy. We, the people, need to compassionately speak out for marginalized populations that are suffering."
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Katy Walsh

Third Coast Review - Highly Recommended

"...Beyond Caring achieves radical empathy through its painstaking and painful attention to detail, an affecting combination that slowly creeps under your skin. When it's revealed that the brutal addition of a double shift will only net each worker an additional $38.49, it's hard not to shift in your seat, thinking of the cost of your theater ticket. The play's title itself serves as a cruel and ironic double-meaning which reverberates long after its breathless 90-minutes are up."
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Brent Eickhoff

Picture This Post - Highly Recommended

"...Ensemble member J. Nicole Brooks and Edwin Lee Gibson brilliantly portray two very different characters both dealing with the same sort of inner turmoil. Each of them, however, deals with the sadness in wildly different ways. Brooks portrays Tracy with great intensity. Gibson, in contrast, uses a subtle and heartbreaking tenderness in his remarkable portrayal of Phil, the veteran of the cleaning crew with a painful past. The entire cast serves the story well. When the audience gives a standing ovation, you feel the cast deserves even more."
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Stephanie Dykes

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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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