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  Adrift at The Greenhouse Theater Center


The Greenhouse Theater Center
2257 N Lincoln Avenue Chicago

Isaac Abbas, a devoted andloving son, wanders in search of an answer, “How can I forgive myself for the choice I made?” We see Isaac’s reverence as a child, flippancy as a teen and sincere compassion as an adult. The memory of his father, Jack, a Naval Officer who suffered from post-traumatic stress, continues to haunt him. As a high school teacher, Isaac attempts to help his student, Tom, reconcile with his father who also serves as Isaac’s principal. Fathers and sons grow and learn from each other as they confront and make decisions concerning definitions of truth, loyalty, honor and accountability. Do our life experiences determine their definitions or does our definition of them direct our life?

Presented by Polarity Ensemble Theatre in assocation with Azusa Production

Thru - Aug 26, 2012

Thursdays: 7:30pm
Fridays: 7:30pm
Saturdays: 7:30pm
Sundays: 2:30pm

Price: $12-$20

Show Type: Drama

Box Office: 773-404-7336

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  Adrift Reviews
  • Highly Recommended
  • Recommended
  • Somewhat Recommended
  • Not Recommended

Chicago Tribune - Somewhat Recommended

"...When Alex's writing breaks away from foregrounding the obvious metaphors (such as Samuel Taylor Coleridge's "Rime of the Ancient Mariner," which Isaac uses as a touchstone for his own family situation), he finds breathing space for simple, honest and relatable moments, as when young Isaac shows off his budding mathematical bent for his dad using a counting "trick" with his fingers. But too often the characters feel at an arm's-length from us."
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Kerry Reid

Chicago Reader - Somewhat Recommended

"...Apparently hoping to avoid melodramatic cliches, the playwright employs a chronologically fragmented narrative technique, jumping back and forth in time and crosscutting between the two families. He also peppers the script with references ranging from geometric theory to "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner." The result is intelligent but emotionally uninvolving in director Maggie Speer's staging for Polarity Ensemble Theatre and Asuza Productions, despite earnest acting and intriguing scenic and sound design."
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Albert Williams

Centerstage - Somewhat Recommended

"...In the small upstairs theater of the former Victory Gardens space, Polarity Ensemble Theater (in association with Azusa Productions) has convened to produce a new play called “Adrift.” The production itself is uninspired, though bolstered manfully by some competent acting. Perhaps the most interesting element is the script itself, which, though claiming to be a new play, feels as if it were found in a dusty compilation from the early 70’s."

John Dalton

Stage and Cinema - Somewhat Recommended

"...Adrift’s script is on the dry side (Fewell’s stiff portrayal of Isaac too often magnifies that, making the dialogue come off as wooden), but things are worse when the playwright shifts too far in the other direction: The ending is the show’s most disappointing moment, a melodramatic display suggesting that Isaac will be as haunted and damaged as his father due to his own tough decisions; the character’s ultimate suffering seems tacked on. The Rime of the Ancient Mariner is about carrying the burden of your actions; Mr. Alex nobly attempts that theme with Adrift, but the very theme that inspired this play ultimately got in the way of producing both satisfying characters and conclusion."
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Samantha Nelson

ChicagoCritic - Recommended

"... Ultimately, Adrift deals with Issac’s search for an answer to “How can I forgive myself for the choice I made?” That search leads to examination of this question: Do our life experiences determine their definitions or does our definition of them direct our life? Adrift has some thought provoking answers while being an entertaining work. The sophistication of Adrift allows us to meet and relate to a quirky math nerd through an honest and haunting memory of the father-son dynastic. Alex shows his talent for weaving philosophical concepts into human dynamics. He also dramatizes the troubled effects of post traumatic stress disorder on a family."
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Tom Williams

Chicago Stage Standard - Somewhat Recommended

"...The problem is that we never see, let alone feel, the actions that supposedly earn this ending. Instead Alex elaborates Isaac’s narration into a bravura showcase of flashbacks and cross-cuts, as well as metaphors and paradoxes drawn from geometry, Dickens, and Einstein. The prime source, mined persistently but not persuasively, is Coleridge’s ancient mariner, doomed to tell his tale of the albatross that killed the crew that he was cursed to survive. Exasperatingly, we learn more about this sailor’s “bad choice” than we do about Isaac’s failure of nerve, let alone glimpse any hope of redemption."

Lawrence Bommer

Let's Play at ChicagoNow - Somewhat Recommended

"...Playwright David Alex draws together past and present problems between fathers and sons and the ripple effect. Alex introduces intriguing dilemmas for his characters, like, “Do I decide what’s going to happen to me?” and “Do theoretical problems have practical solutions?” He asks the compelling questions but his characters don’t really find the answers. Or at least not in an emotionally engaging manner. At points, the dialogue is witty word choices by Alex. Although I catch the humor, the audience’s reaction suggests they don’t. The cast is four guys under the direction of Maggie Speer. These guys are guys. At times, they are emotionally unavailable. They reach varied points of vulnerability but they stop short of a true, tender connection with each other or the audience. The moments sail by adrift."
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Katy Walsh

Around The Town Chicago - Recommended

"...Anyone who knows Alex knows that math is a major part of his life and there is no question that Isaac is modeled after him.Speer even made sure that Fewell looked like him to complete the picture. This is a solid production, but knowing how Alex works, I am pretty sure he will go another step in the future, redefining some of the spots that need a touch up, but overall, this is a play that should be seen, not just by fathers and sons, but mothers and daughters as well. Despite Isaac’s own situation, he is able to draw out Tom and his father and see them reconcile their differences,only to find that his life becomes affected by doing so."
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Alan Bresloff

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