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(Non) Fiction

(Non) Fiction
The Right Brain Project at Athenaeum Theatre
Thru - Sep 14, 2019

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The Right Brain Project at Athenaeum Theatre

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  • Recommended
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Chicago Reader- Not Recommended

"...The second problem is this: Instead of digging deep, Leff merely draws a faint outline around Mike and Emma's nightmarish shared past. It's a shallow, milquetoast treatment at best. Finally: it doesn't help even a little that Leff has created a full-on cartoon stereotype agent (Tim Lee) who seems like an extra in a middle-school reading of an unauthorized Entourage episode. (Non)Fiction doesn't end so much as it fizzles out. Nothing is really resolved, but that doesn't really matter because nothing is particularly memorable either."
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Catey Sullivan

Windy City Times- Highly Recommended

"...The legend of King Midas tells of a monarch who wished for all that he touched to turn into gold, only to have his beloved daughter embrace him, with tragic results. Whether your own experience approximates that of the fabulist who views everything in the universe as material for their craft, or that of the hapless mortals who ultimately find themselves reduced to lifeless works of art, Leff's deceptively simple narrative has something to say to you."
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Mary Shen Barnidge

Around The Town Chicago- Somewhat Recommended

"...Slow-moving and tedious, "(Non)Fiction" tells the story of Stephanie, an aspiring novelist (Madeline Bernhardt) and her twin loves: her boyfriend Mike (Justin Verstraete) and her love of writing. She works hard at balancing her personal life and her need to express herself on paper with the hope of launching her career as a published author. Mike works as an accountant and is extremely supportive of her efforts in both an emotional and material sense, so that she can stay at home and write full-time."
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Julia W. Rath

Third Coast Review- Recommended

"...The relationship between Steph and Mike is written and played sweetly by the two, who celebrate her publishing contract with Twinkies and wine. Their story is punctuated by Steph's conversations with her overbearing agent Dan (played by Tim Lee). (The simple staging includes phone conversations between pairs of people on their smart phones, sometimes sitting next to each other. It's a very today treatment and it works.)"
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Nancy Bishop

Chicago On Stage- Highly Recommended

"...At its core, (Non)Fiction is a love story. Stephanie is torn between the twin loves of her life, Mike and her passion for writing, which have become indelibly at odds with each other. She has dedicated her existence to both of them, spending her time shifting between hours spent trying to write and rewrite her book and hours spent in the spirited, loving relationship she has built with her boyfriend. They are the two pillars of her life, both of which make her the person she is. What does one do if she is forced to choose between two aspects of her own heart? How do you make a decision when every choice is wrong? These are not questions that Leff chooses to answer, but ones she leaves with the audience to ponder as they filter out of the theatre, realizing that once again a tiny, underfunded Chicago theatre company has left them emotionally drained. If you are the kind of theatre-goer who sticks with the big houses, you owe it to yourself to discover the powerful experiences that the small, unheralded companies can create on practically no budget. (Non)Fiction is a reminder of the joy of raw, honest acting, and it is well worth seeing."
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Karen Topham