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  Smart People at Writers Theatre

Smart People

Writers Theatre
325 Tudor Court Glencoe

Four intelligent, attractive and opinionated young urban professionals—a doctor, an actress, a psychologist, and a neurobiologist studying the human brain’s response to race—search for love, success, and identity while also attempting to navigate the intricacies of racial and sexual politics. This whip-smart new play taps into current cultural conversation in an enthralling and provocative way, taking on deep questions of the nature of prejudice with razor sharp wit.

Thru - Jun 10, 2018

Tuesdays: 7:30pm
Wednesdays: 7:30pm
Thursdays: 7:30pm
Fridays: 7:30pm
Saturdays: 3:00pm & 7:30pm
Sundays: 2:00pm & 6:00pm

Price: $35-$80

Stage: The Gillian Theatre

Show Type: Comedy/Drama

Box Office: 847-242-6000

Running Time: 2hrs, 15mins; one intermission

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  Smart People Reviews
  • Highly Recommended
  • Recommended
  • Somewhat Recommended
  • Not Recommended

Chicago Tribune - Recommended

"...the piece is very well cast. Valerie and Jackson emerge as the more empathetic pair. Carter is a very likable and honest actress, here playing a genuinely luminous artist whose travails Diamond knows and understands. And there are a few moments when Parker really breaks out of the show's more protective mold: he's a consistently restless actor, always right in the moment and, you feel, on the edge of something. You perk up as he contemplates taking a chance."
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Chris Jones

Chicago Sun Times - Recommended

"...If the quality of a play-going experience were determined solely by the quantity of sharp observations and witty lines, then "Smart People" would rank right up there. But too often, Diamond doesn't provide sufficient narrative thrust to make the arguments move far enough away from the academic. And, above all, the play seems to revolve just too much around Brian, the least compelling and least likeable of them all."
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Steven Oxman

Daily Herald - Recommended

"...Diamond's heady 2014 play, now in its Chicago-area debut at Writers Theatre in Glencoe, goes out of its way to tackle contentious issues of race, class and privilege. It's thought-provoking and timely -- especially in context to when Diamond wrote "Smart People" and where we are now politically in our nation."
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Scott C. Morgan

Chicago Reader - Highly Recommended

"...Brian, meanwhile, is fighting his way off the mountaintop, one self-destructive, suspect thesis at a time. The particular form his rebellion takes says a lot about his own demons, at which Diamond, Gordon, and Hellman give us a long, hard, humiliating look late in the play. Smart People ends with an image as, well, powerfully abject as any I've seen in years."
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Tony Adler

Chicago On the Aisle - Recommended

"...The smartest thing about Lydia R. Diamond’s play “Smart People,” now installed at Writers Theatre, may be the playwright herself. Diamond has a slashing wit and a ringing command of language. Whether “Smart People” adds up to all that much, or indeed whether it’s as fresh and imaginative as its high energy suggests, are other matters."
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Lawrence B. Johnson

Let's Play at ChicagoNow - Recommended

"...Smart People is a very profound play that has multi-layers of systemic and historical traits that people of color live with daily, however, to know that this behavior exists and to ignore it rather than work to resolve it; is the main reason why our society is where it is today."
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Rick and Brenda McCain

Around The Town Chicago - Highly Recommended

"...Racism, sexual identity, political matters! These are just a few of the topics that are addressed in Lydia R. Diamond’s “Smart People” now on the stage of the smaller, “Black Box” studio at Writers Theatre in Glencoe. The Gillian Theatre, a sit is called, is a unique space that can be converted for full stages, arena-style theater, or even in-the-round. In this current production, the audience is on three sides so there is action everywhere, and we are never more than five rows away from it."
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Alan Bresloff

WTTW - Highly Recommended

"...Diamond captures the tragicomic mess they make of their romantic lives with her own special brand of bristling brilliance. And through a nonstop series of rapid-fire scenes she reveals all sides of her characters, whether in their uneasy mating dances, the tension between the two men as they argue over a basketball game at the gym, an audition scene by Johnstone, or the Jekyll and Hyde-like encounter between Yang and both a saleswoman in a posh shop and a suicidal patient."
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Hedy Weiss

Chicago Theatre Review - Highly Recommended

"...Hallie Gordon's production of Lydia R. Diamond's smart, sexy new drama is both funny and thought-provoking. This comedy of manners...and racism...isn't one of those plays where the theatergoer can just sit back and relax, letting the play simply wash over him. In fact, the recorded pre-show announcement urges the audience to lean in and engage in what they're about to see and hear. Truer words were never spoken. This is a play for and about, as Ms. Diamond says, "Smart People." And it's not to be missed."
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Colin Douglas

Chicagoland Theater Reviews - Highly Recommended

"..."Smart People" has its flaws but its virtues win out. We don't lack for plays these days that take on racial themes, usually with a high emotional and sometimes violent content. Diamond seduces attentive viewers into rethinking their positions on racial and ethnic and class ideas, especially if that viewer is white and middle class (or higher) and living in a comfort zone of presumed racial tolerance. They will leave the theater unsettled and possibly, like me, wonder where to obtain a copy of the script to examine at their own pace where Diamond is coming from."
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Dan Zeff

Chicago On Stage - Highly Recommended

"...Smart People is not designed to be an easy play to digest any more than the issues we covered in that summit were meant to be simple to implement. Race continues to be a flashpoint in American society (and arguably is getting worse in the era of Trump). We need our culture to point a finger and get us thinking about these things if we have any possibility of getting past them. Smart People does just that. It is a challenging, at times outrageous play, but it is a perfect play for our time."
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Karen Topham

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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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