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  The Letters at Writers Theatre

The Letters

Writers Theatre
325 Tudor Court Glencoe

When Anna is called in for a meeting with her superior, everything seems to be going well. But nothing is quite as it seems in this thriller of politics and disinformation set in 1930s Russia. A casual conversation quickly turns into a game of cat and mouse in which being the last to flinch may mean the difference between life and death. Who will claim the upper hand: those who suppress the truth, or those who will risk everything to liberate it?

Thru - Mar 17, 2013

Price: $35-$70

Stage: 664 Vernon Ave

Show Type: Drama

Box Office: 847-242-6000

Running Time: 1hr, 30mins

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  The Letters Reviews
  • Highly Recommended
  • Recommended
  • Somewhat Recommended
  • Not Recommended

Chicago Tribune - Highly Recommended

"...The trick of this very engrossing piece - an ideal selection for this space and these actors - is that Anna knows nothing more about why she is in this room than do we, and thus we experience both her unease and her need to find out what's going on without saying the wrong thing simultaneously. Fry's intensely cautious character has very little to say - she is smart enough to know that actually talking in these situations mostly just digs yourself a deeper hole - but as her character suffers through the agonizing series of revelations coming her way, Fry's face registers everything from ignorance to fear, pride to unease, defiance to raw terror."
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Chris Jones

Chicago Sun Times - Highly Recommended

"...Lowell's scorching 75-minute exercise lays bare the psychological gamesmanship at work in a 1930s Soviet era office as the director of a state archive engages in a pernicious "interview" with a well-established employee who works as an editor. As it unfolds, the play simultaneously sends a chill down the spine, and raises the hackles on one's neck."
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Hedy Weiss

Time Out Chicago - Recommended

"...Anna, we learn, is part of a team working on redacting a series of letters written by a prominent Russian composer; their contents lasciviously describe the composer's "aberrations." "Pornographic," Anna tells the director. "There's no other word for it." The director's line of questioning regarding these salacious correspondences, as well as the widowed, seemingly demure Anna's associations with her coworkers, helps Senior and her two excellent performers build a tantalizing tension. But that tension gets no satisfying release in Lowell's script, which takes too long to reach the expected shift of power. We're kept waiting for a grander twist that never comes."
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Kris Vire

ShowBizChicago - Highly Recommended

"...Director Kimberly Senior keeps the suspense high during every intimate minute of this evocative 70-minute show. With each carefully calculated line, it's not hard to draw shrewd parallels to today's age of indiscretion and misinformation. The audience is a fly on the wall in the same interrogating office that Anna and the Director are trapped in - the only difference is that we enjoy every thrilling minute of it."
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Melody Udell

Chicago On the Aisle - Highly Recommended

"...Kimberly Senior's smartly paced direction never allows this colloquy to settle into static debate or grinding interrogation. Anna indeed finds herself bobbing and weaving, a pugilist in some desperate political ring, and thus Senior moves the opponents about the space - calmly seated or pacing, ready to pounce or back-pedaling as the advantage shifts. Set designer Jack Magaw has provided just enough furnishings to permit such flexible clashes, and Christine Binder's expressive lighting underscores the encounter's changing complexion."
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Lawrence B. Johnson

ChicagoCritic - Highly Recommended

"... Kate Fry and Mark L. Montgomery are fabulous here. Montgomery exudes a mixture of charm, charisma and rage while Fry is calm, controlled yet fiery. The two play off each other marvelously.Thewriting,thepacing and the performances here are expertand engrossing. This cautionary tale is still relevant today unfortunately. The Letters is outstanding theatre Ė donít miss it!"
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Tom Williams

Let's Play at ChicagoNow - Highly Recommended

"...The biggest takeaway from this production is Mark L. Montgomery (Director) and Kate Fry (Anna) are fantastic liars! I'm constantly trying to determine who is the bigger one. Whereas Montgomery is deliciously double-talking diabolical, Fry is controlling, reserved with a hint of pluckiness. Their switch and bait interaction transfixes. Montgomery tauntngly fondles the detonator. Fry gingerly steps around landmines. And then kaboom, kaboom, kaboom... THE LETTERS has a long fuse to a volatile climax. This gripping drama will leave you wanting more."
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Katy Walsh

Around The Town Chicago - Highly Recommended

"...Part of what makes Writers' Theatre the powerhouse it is, is the production values of each play they stage. Every detail is sheer magic, whether on the main stage or the intimacy of the Bookstore stage. In addition to Magaw's set, the furniture and props (Nick Heggestad), costumes (Rachel Anne Healy),Lighting(Christine A.Binder) and sound(Christopher Kriz) all work to truly give us the feel that we are eavesdropping on this meeting. They say that good theater is when the audience truly feels that they have taken down the fourth wall and are watching action as observers of life. In this case, two walls are gone, but the feeling is that we are the "fly on the wall". In fact, after a few minutes, I forgot that there was another audience on the other side of the room, watching from another angle. The action on the stage was so intense, they disappeared entirely. That is solid theater!"
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Alan Bresloff

Chicagoland Theater Reviews - Highly Recommended

"..."The Letters" at the Writers' Theatre is a tense two-hander permeated with a sense of menace and violence that lurks just below its outwardly placid surface. In other words, playwright John Lowell takes us deep into Harold Pinter country with a touch of George Orwell, where truth is elusive and ordinary language assumes an ambiguous and chilling quality."

Dan Zeff

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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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