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  Damascus Reviews

Strawdog Theatre Company at Strawdog Theatre
Thru - Jun 23, 2018

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Strawdog Theatre Company at Strawdog Theatre

  • Highly Recommended
  • Recommended
  • Somewhat Recommended
  • Not Recommended

Chicago Tribune- Somewhat Recommended

"...But I wish the play had let go of some of its thriller motifs, which require more subversion of expectation and some actual surprise, in favor of exploring Hassan's Somali-American character in more depth. One of the great injustices of the technological revolution in transportation is the loss of income for drivers who are getting a leg up in their adopted land, and now are being forced to work longer and harder, and take risks every single day."
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Chris Jones

Chicago Reader- Somewhat Recommended

"...The name of this play references a New Testament conversion away from zealotry, but nothing within its muddled narrative gives the audience any road map as to who has been converted, what they've been converted to, or why. Hassan and Lloyd aren't people but crudely formed vessels for the playwright's heavy-handed ruminations on faith, politics, and economics and, thus, they're impossible to empathize with."
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Dmitry Samarov

Windy City Times- Highly Recommended

"...Atmosphere is everything in this genre ( aptly named "Night Journey" in literary parlance ), but never has the isolation of lonely highways and the intimacy generated thereby been so vividly evoked as in Strawdog Theatre's bare-bones room where the purr of the real-life El train outside its walls blends with the artificial traffic noises supplied by Sarah Espinoza's sound design. Terence Sims and Sam Hubbard likewise reject simplistic subtexts to deliver caricature-free performances, along with Eleni Pappageorge as assorted bystanders, but the true star of the show is Jeffrey Kmiec's sleek GMC Chevrolet Savana-a surprisingly lightweight sculpture of aluminum tubing, fully functional engine parts and the smoothest-rolling platform wheels in the history of shifting scenery."
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Mary Shen Barnidge

Theatre By Numbers- Recommended

"...While “Damascus” may not fully pay off on the dread it builds over its road trip from Minneapolis to Chicago, the production still manages to leave the audience with questions about its characters, and questions about what we might do, were we faced with impossible choices and intractable philosophies about the modern world."
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Sarah Bowden

Chicago On the Aisle- Highly Recommended

"...In your face is probably not the right way to describe the close-up experience of watching Bennett Fisher’s taut, harrowing play “Damascus” in Strawdog Theatre’s cozy new home. Eye to unblinking eye would be more accurate."
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Lawrence B. Johnson

NewCity Chicago- Not Recommended

"...The artists on the bill are all incredible and established, and it's hard to imagine what exactly happened in the process of making this play. Is it that no one spoke up about the drops in action or the misrepresentations? Or is it that folks spoke up and were not listened to? How open was the room to collaboration and shared knowledge? Did they seek out some experts to speak to, to help them navigate the more complex issues in the script? Or did they simply barrel along?"
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Emma Couling

The Fourth Walsh- Highly Recommended

"...The cast is rock solid. Hubbard and Sims' interactions are genuine. Their facial expressions transfixing. The intensity in their eyes tethers us to their escalating implosions. Despite the stressful ride, each endears with moments of pure vulnerability. And nod out to versatile Eleni Pappageorge for playing three supporting characters, one of which channeled her inner Marge Gunderson."
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Katy Walsh

Picture This Post- Highly Recommended

"...Both Hubbard and Sims deliver superb performances. They ARE these two men. The minimal set keeps our focus on their acting talent. For much of the play, we focus only on their shifting facial expressions. "
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Amy Munice