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  Objects in the Mirror at Goodman Theatre

Objects in the Mirror

Goodman Theatre
170 N. Dearborn Street Chicago

For Shedrick Yarkpai, escaping the horrors of war-torn Liberia is only the beginning of his fight for survival. Trying to start a new life in Australia as a refugee, Yarkpai's search for peace is interrupted by an explosive family secret. To reclaim his present -- and have any hope of building a future -- Yarkpai must first confront the ghosts of his past. Inspired by a true story, Objects in the Mirror is a gripping play about identity, survival and assimilation. Don't miss playwright Charles Smith's latest work when it comes to Chicago's Goodman Theatre.

Thru - Jun 4, 2017

Price: $20-$75

Stage: Albert Theatre

Show Type: Drama

Box Office: 312-443-3800

Running Time: 2hrs, 15mins

Goodman Theatre Seating Charts

Suggested Nearby Restaurant

  Objects in the Mirror Reviews
  • Highly Recommended
  • Recommended
  • Somewhat Recommended
  • Not Recommended

Chicago Tribune - Highly Recommended

"...This small cast inhabits Riccardo Hernandez's overwhelmingly vast visual landscape on the Goodman stage - a huge but sparse set that you'd most usually associate with epic productions teeming with actors (Smith has written such plays in the past). Here, Hernandez's design, aided by Mike Tutaj's projections and John Culbert's unflinching lights, shrinks and minimizes the nomadic and stateless humans whose story is being told; it is surely an intentional use of such contrast and, at times, is quite dazzlingly effective. It is a visual portrait of jet-fueled dislocation and migration that you do not have to have been a refugee to have felt."
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Chris Jones

Chicago Sun Times - Highly Recommended

"..."Objects in the Mirror," now receiving a heart-wrenching, fiercely acted world premiere at the Goodman Theatre, might just be Smith's finest work. Spinning an immensely complicated story with great economy, he has given us a drama that captures the essence of the almost unimaginably vicious civil wars that raged in the West African countries of Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea between 1989 and 2003; the horrific plights of those who tried to flee from them and often had to spend years in putrid refugee camps or on desperate walks through the bush; the tragic psychological scars left on those who survived the ordeal; the wrenching destruction and powerful endurance of family ties; the complex nature of racial, sexual and national identity; the tension between lies and storytelling, and above all, the stunning human drive for survival."
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Hedy Weiss

Daily Herald - Recommended

"...If his breakout performance in Goodman Theatre's "Objects in the Mirror" is any indication, Daniel Kyri is about to become very busy. His achingly authentic portrayal of a Liberian refugee in Charles Smith's timely examination of survival and identity is the kind that attracts attention. Which means you'd be wise to catch the talented young actor now before Broadway or Hollywood come calling."
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Barbara Vitello

Chicago Reader - Recommended

"...Shedrick/Zaza confides his false identity to Rob Mosher (Ryan Kitley), a middle-aged, white Australian lawyer who's taken the young African under his wing. Looking into it, Mosher finds that there's a simple, no-fault solution: a single form Zaza can sign to become Shedrick again. Uncle John won't hear of it, though, and the second half of Objects in the Mirror turns into a struggle between Yarkpai's two benefactors: the black one who brought him out of Liberia and the white one who can help bring him out of hiding in Adelaide."
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Tony Adler

Windy City Times - Highly Recommended

"...The rain forest jungles of Liberia are unimaginable distances from our world, but Mike Tutaj's cartographic projections, Eva Breneman's dialect instruction and Jonathan L. Green's dramaturgical notes ( read your playbill before the show, okay? ) ensure that we never succumb to gratuitous exotification. Daniel Kyri conveys, with unaffected poignancy, the agony of our hero caught between gratitude and opportunity, as exemplified in Allen Gilmore's tradition-bound patriarch and Ryan Kitley's Aussie advocate, his indecision further complicated by the choices of his steely mother and reckless cousin, both rendered complex and fully formed personalities by Lily Mojekwu and Breon Arzell. Try as you might, you will not forget them."
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Mary Shen Barnidge

Time Out Chicago - Recommended

"...Daniel Kyri is magnetic as Shedrick in Chuck Smith's Goodman Theatre production, which also benefits from Riccardo Hernandez's simple but stunning scenescapes. But we never really learn anything about the hopes or dreams of this version of Shedrick-he can't go back to where he came from, but where is it he wants to go? And then there's the conflict between Shedrick's slippery uncle (Allen Gilmore) and the Australian benefactor (Ryan Kitley) who offers to help clear Shedrick's record. The Australian has a suspicious whiff of white savior about him from the start, but when the playwright flips the gay-panic switch it leaves a bad aftertaste. Objects well conveys that refuguee trauma doesn't end with resettlement. But in the context of the play, we want to root for Shedrick's way forward-while the play spends all of its time looking in the rearview."
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Kris Vire

Theatre By Numbers - Highly Recommended

"...Chuck Smith's powerfully simple staging gives the more dynamic and complex moments of the play a gigantic blank canvas upon which to create an overall picture that is both brilliant and dark. The cast rises to the task of telling a gripping and meaningful tale, always surrounded by the spirit that they are just a small part of something so much larger, but never being defeated by the overall massiveness of their troubles. This is a piece that must be seen."
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Christopher Kidder-Mostrom

Chicago On the Aisle - Highly Recommended

"...Playwright Charles Smith’s “Objects in the Mirror” is a gritty, honest and provocatively open-ended story about coming of age. Mesmerizing, if no less exasperating, it is served with resonant conviction in the world premiere production at Goodman Theatre."
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Lawrence B. Johnson

Stage and Cinema - Recommended

"...Chuck Smith's five-member cast manage to fill the vast Goodman stage with agonizing "case histories" well beyond their number. Never has playing the moment mattered more than in this 135-minute epic of perils. Seldom has trusting in the truth been less abstract or more ideological. Redemptively, Shedrick "Zaza" Kennedy Workolo Yarkpai found a better "mirror" in Australia than the one he brought from Africa. Seeing is believing."
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Lawrence Bommer

ChicagoCritic - Highly Recommended

"...Without giving away more, let me state that the story's resolution is plausible and believable especially as Daniel Kyri presents. it. Objects In The Mirror is a worthy drama that puts a face on African refugees. We see the trauma, both physical and emotional suffered and we see the determination and the human spirit that motivates the survivors. We see the price they pay for their choices and we see how survivors can thrive in a peaceful safe environment. Objects In The Mirror is a polished, intense drama wonderfully directed and beautifully acted; it is one of the best world premiere seen on a Chicago stage in years! Don't miss this gem!"
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Tom Williams

Chicago Stage Standard - Highly Recommended

"...Goodman Theatre has truly outdone themselves with this magnificent world premiere production of playwright Charles Smith’s Objects in the Mirror. Directed by Chuck Smith and developed through the Goodman’s New Stages Festival, Objects in the Mirror follows a young Liberian refugee’s journey towards hope and new beginnings in modern-day Australia. Based on the true story of Liberian refugee, Shedrick Yarkpai, this production explores identity and the cost of our own survival as audiences follow Shedrick through the most turbulent and troubling times of his life. Objects in the Mirror dares to explore emotionally, politically, and culturally controversial topics that others have avoided in the past; no stone is left unturned, no matter how tragic and disturbing the outcome."

Rebecca Curl

Around The Town Chicago - Highly Recommended

"...Directed by another Smith, Chuck Smith on a cleverly designed set by (Riccardo Hernandez) using very little scenery but some great projections (Mike Tutaj), that allow us to be transported from Africa to Australia. In this two-hours-twenhty- minutes (with an intermission) we meet Shedrick (played to perfection by Daniel Kyri, making his Goodman debut, and what a powerful debut this is), who must flee his homeland, leaving behind his mother in order to save his own life."
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Alan Bresloff

NewCity Chicago - Highly Recommended

"...Directed with understated (and frankly underrated) simplicity by Chuck Smith, these will be performances are among the finest in recent memory. Kyri is a talent to watch, already making his debut at Steppenwolf and Chicago Shakespeare Theater. As enjoyable as this production was at the New Stages festival two years ago, it is heartening to see this role cast age-appropriately. Alongside Gilmore, Mojekwu, Arzell and Ryan Kitley (as the quintessential well-meaning white man), this ensemble takes what is already a damn-near perfect play and turns it into one of the year's most essential productions."
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Kevin Greene

Chicago Theatre Review - Highly Recommended

"...Uncle John warns Shedrick that objects we see in a mirror may not be as they appear. They may be filled with danger and looked at skeptically. All of the characters in Smith’s play need to heed this wise advice. While we’d like to think we can trust the person offering help and sagely counsel, giving encouragement and positive recommendations, he may not be all he seems. Then again he might be honest, authentic and on the up-and-up. But the warning stands strong and clear. Shedrick learns this lesson from the others around him and, in the final analysis, makes his own choices."
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Colin Douglas

Third Coast Review - Recommended

"...With memorable visuals and a strong cast, this production presents complicated questions with a casualness that allows their weight to be fully felt by the audience. While the script’s monologue-heavy first act keeps audiences at a measured distance, there are understandable benefits to this approach when juxtaposed against the more realistic two-person scenes that populate the second half of the play. Ultimately, Objects in the Mirror ponders how linked our identities are to the stories of our past and those that we tell ourselves."
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Brent Eickhoff

Picture This Post - Highly Recommended

"...Fear and insecurity permeate OBJECTS IN THE MIRROR, set between 1995 and 2007. Each step inevitably involves grave danger -- from rebel groups that lurk in the jungle and control checkpoints to the disease and squalor of overcrowded refugee camps. In this milieu, a boy-soldier proves his mettle by "cutting out the beating heart of a child and eating it in front of his hysterical mother." But even far from Liberia, on a serene Australian beach, the atmosphere of director Chuck Smith's superb production is fraught. And that, in turn, keeps us on the edge of our seats."
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Susan Lieberman

  Objects in the Mirror 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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