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  Picnic at American Theater Company


American Theater Company
1909 W Byron Chicago

Closeted and dogged by an acute sense of failure for most of his life until he ended it, William Inge wrote some of the great lyrical plays of the American mid-century, and Picnic was his masterpiece, his playground and, quite possibly, his fantasy. In this loving reimagining, ATC Artistic Director Will Davis puts Inge at the center of his Pulitzer Prize-winning play and animates what is both sacred and profane about small town life against the backdrop of dust bowl hymns and love songs. Part seance, part love letter to a ghost, this Picnic explores a life lived at the periphery of one's own desire.

Thru - Apr 23, 2017

Thursdays: 8:00pm
Fridays: 8:00pm
Saturdays: 2:00pm & 8:00pm
Sundays: 2:00pm

Price: $20-$38

Show Type: Drama

Box Office: 773-409-4125

Running Time: 2hrs

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  Picnic Reviews
  • Highly Recommended
  • Recommended
  • Somewhat Recommended
  • Not Recommended

Chicago Tribune - Somewhat Recommended

"...The quality of the scene work, and the melding of the actors' own performative personas (such as that of Michael Turrentine, who plays Rosemary) with the Inge characters, are the strengths of the show. The overall arc of the play here is less secure - with the ending feeling especially abrupt. Davis has a few too many alienating devices in play here - especially the choice to sit the racy neighbor Mrs. Potts (Laura McKenzie) off to the side, playing her piano and speaking, mostly flatly, into a microphone. She is disconnected and that is a shame, for she has much to give to the folks next door."
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Chris Jones

Chicago Sun Times - Recommended

"...American Theater Company artistic director Will Davis has inflicted a whole lot of concept on his staging of William Inge's 1953 drama "Picnic." Read the script (or see a traditional production) and you'll find a moving exploration of a the crippling oppressiveness of rigidly conservative small-town values, twined around a compelling commentary on society's worship of skin-deep beauty."
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Catey Sullivan

Time Out Chicago - Recommended

"...Though she provides mostly busybody comic relief in the play's early going, two late scenes prove this Picnic's most powerful: when Rosemary drunkenly blows up at Hal for his invasive, insulting youth and beauty, and when she demands that her longtime boyfriend Howard (Robert Cornelius) ask her to marry him: "What do I care what people think!" Turrentine plays this latter scene with little layered onto it but desperate conviction, but seeing this mid-century scene between ostensibly white, heterosexual characters played out by two African-American men peels back new layers of Inge's repressed desires just as Davis has indicated was his intention. Fascinating weirdo Laura McKenzie's portrayal of a half-dozen or so minor townspeople, which she voices into an echoey mic off the edge of the stage, is also intriguing if somewhat inscrutable."
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Kris Vire

NewCity Chicago - Highly Recommended

"...There is something very profound in the way that this production feels both upside down and yet solidly upright. It's longing is authentic, its tragedy understated. Davis has described it as a gift to Inge's ghost. And so it is to himself and all of us as well."
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Kevin Greene

Chicago Theatre Review - Recommended

"...This story of guarded dreams and restrained sexuality is a true ensemble production, brought into a new light by this novel, eye-opening 100-minute production that promises to provide a fresh take on this classic play."
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Colin Douglas

The Fourth Walsh - Highly Recommended

"...As the charismatic drifter, Molly Brennan delivers boundless energy and physicality in the role of Hal. Brennan not only successfully projects a guileless brand of friendliness and aw-shucks humility required of Hal as a survival tool, but we also intuitively understand that it's a performance concealing this vagabond's darker, more complicated truth. Brennan's work here will both remind you of William Holden's indelible Hal from the 1955 film adaptation, while standing apart as something completely contemporary."
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Tom Lawler

Picture This Post - Recommended

"...Surely, there are many bold choices in Davis' production which provide audiences with much to consider--both theatrically and emotionally--after they leave the theatre. While it runs the risk of alienating audiences in its style and presentation, it's precisely these risks that in some moments of the play heighten its substance. Lovingly crafted by an artistic director with vision, American Theater Company's Picnic features several moving scenes with powerful images sure to haunt audiences once they leave the theatre."
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Brent Ervin-Eickhoff

  Picnic 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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