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  Hunger at Lifeline Theatre

Hunger

Lifeline Theatre
6912 North Glenwood Chicago

During the 900-day Nazi siege of Leningrad, Russian botanist Ilya is charged with protecting a cache of valuable seeds for future generations. As the weeks turn to months and food grows scarce, Ilya and his co-workers are torn between their lives’ work, the dictates of a brutal regime, and the harsh realities of survival in a time of war. Consumed by innumerable hungers and haunted by memories of happier days, Ilya must choose whether to preserve his life or protect his ideals. A powerful drama of deprivation and loss, in a world premiere adaptation. Based on the 2003 debut novel by American author and journalist Elise Blackwell (The Unnatural History of Cypress Parish, An Unfinished Score).

Thru - Mar 25, 2012



Price: $20-$35

Show Type: Drama

Box Office: 773-761-4477

www.lifelinetheatre.com


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  Hunger Reviews
  • Highly Recommended
  • Recommended
  • Somewhat Recommended
  • Not Recommended

Chicago Tribune - Recommended

"... director Robert Kauzlaric has found some formidable actors, ranging from Dan Granata, who plays a moody idealist, to Tyler, who plays a sensualist, withering, before our eyes, on the vine. Thulin, whose character is a well-meaning scientist and loyal spouse, is exceptionally moving throughout, as is Peter Greenberg, playing an altruistic sage, familiar with the non-scientific morass within which all people of science must operate. And Roberts, who is on something of a roll of late, delivers a twitchy, nervous, restless guy, constantly watching to see who's listening to whom, negotiating for power and coming to hate no one so much as himself. It is, truly, an exceptional ensemble of Chicago actors at their peak of their games."
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Chris Jones


Chicago Sun Times - Somewhat Recommended

"...All this forms the backdrop for “Hunger,” Lifeline Theatre’s hugely ambitious but too often heavy-handed stage adaptation of a 2008 novel by American writer Elise Blackwell that homes in on how the siege affected a unique group of scientists during that nightmarish period. Adapted by Chris Hainsworth and directed by Robert Kauzlaric, the production brings to light a horrific moment in history few know or think about these days. But it ends up feeling like the most wooden of socialist realist dramas."
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Hedy Weiss


Windy City Times - Recommended

"...This formulaic fable is populated by the usual assortment of personalities, anchored by our narrator, who matures from an impetuous youth cheating on the wife he loves and reveling in his occupation-mandated field trips to exotic lands, into a gaunt and distrustful recluse whose only goal is survival, even if it means eating the precious lab-samples that awaken memories of his fallen companions. Unfortunately, the epic sprawl of Blackwell's novel does not translate well to the stage, despite adapter Chris Hainsworth's obvious efforts to excise all but the most necessary components in winnowing his story down to a spartan two-and-a-half-hour running time."
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Mary Shen Barnidge


Centerstage - Somewhat Recommended

"...The adaptation, by Chris Hainsworth, is rather stiff. The characters often sound like they’re speaking in translation. And the kind of diffuse plot mechanics that work fine in a novel here deprive the show of forward momentum. For a story of men turning into beasts, the pacing remains fairly staid throughout."

Alex Huntsberger


Time Out Chicago - Recommended

"...Ilya’s relationships with his work and the women in his life need stronger definition; Roberts doesn’t appear too shaken as his character’s world begins to crumble. The ensemble has a firm handle on the scientific material, conveying large amounts of information with clarity, yet when it comes to the more dramatic content, the emotional stakes aren’t high enough. Hunger is a fascinating botany lesson, but the story could use more meat on its bones."
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Oliver Sava


Chicago On the Aisle - Highly Recommended

"...Shepherding this chamber ensemble of 12 diverse characters played by seven actors, director Robert Kauzlaric displays a conductor’s flair for musical line and rhythm. It’s not by chance that Lifeline’s fine production brings to mind the tragic, heart-rending music of Dmitri Shostakovich: His Seventh Symphony, which was written and performed during the siege of Leningrad, resonates in the background as these horrific events unfold."
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Lawrence B. Johnson


ChicagoCritic - Recommended

"... Terrific work from John Henry Roberts, Peter Greenberg,especially as thecold-hearten bureaucrat Lysenko, together withKendra Thulin and Dan Granata give a face tothestarving scientistscaught in a life-threatening dilemma. Hainsworth’s script and Kauzlaric’sdirection covered the chaotic 900 day siege with vividness, Jessica Kuehnau set design with Kevin D. Gawley’s scary lighting and Andrew Hansen’s eerie sound gave depthand realism totheproduction. But ultimately, Hunger is an actor’s show where the skills of the seven players gave theworka basein truth.Novels,indeed, come to life at Lifeline Theatre. I had to stop at McDonald’s after the show since I got so famished watching those Russians starve."
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Tom Williams


Chicago Stage Standard - Somewhat Recommended

"...Unfortunately, viewed as a play rather than a novel, "Hunger" is mostly falling action, an evening of diminishing returns, with no pay-off showdown between Ilya and the forces of reason and Lysenko and his imbecilic reduction of agriculture to the class struggle. However courageous the botanists seem in the earlier scenes, ultimately they're divided and conquered as ideology wins out over facts. Despite persuasive performances from Robert Kauzlaric's dedicated ensemble, an edifying script never quite catches fire."

Lawrence Bommer


Let's Play at ChicagoNow - Highly Recommended

"... HUNGER fascinated me. I’m sure I read a paragraph or two describing the Leningrad conflict. But the Russians suffering didn’t register in my American mind. HUNGER planted a seed in my head. A bit of an existentialist crisis sprouted. What is worth dying for? Is my lifetime of work pointless? I continue to ponder the answer. HUNGER could whet your appetite for life’s true meaning. For others, it might be lacking the spice to keep you satisfied."
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Katy Walsh


Around The Town Chicago - Somewhat Recommended

"...their current production, “Hunger”, an adaptation of Elise Blackwell’s powerful World War Two novel by Chris Hainsworth, appeared to have some holes in the story. The story takes place during the 900 days siege of Leningrad. As the Nazis take over , many of those in power or high standing are taken away, some never to be seen again and hunger for the life they used to have as well as food takes over."
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Alan Bresloff


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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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