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  Sycamore at Raven Theatre


Raven Theatre
6157 N. Clark St Chicago

In this new drama by Brooklyn-based playwright Sarah Sander, Celia and Henry are teenaged siblings living in an unnamed Midwestern suburb. Celia is 18, a high school senior who is involved in cheerleading and the drama club. Henry is 16 and active in mathletics. Both Celia and Henry become romantically interested in their new next-door neighbor, John, who recently moved to their town from Los Angeles with his single mom Jocelyn and is also an artistic type (he's a photographer). This is not the first time Celia and Henry have been romantic rivals - their first competition over a boy resulted in incidents which had damaging and lasting impacts on each of them. Will trouble strike again as the two vie for John's affections? Meanwhile, Celia and Henry's parents, David and Louise, face stress in their marriage due to David's reduction in hours as a college professor and need to take on a job as a short order cook in an all-night diner.

Thru - Apr 29, 2017

Price: $43-$46

Show Type: Drama

Box Office: 773-338-2177

Running Time: 1hr, 15mins

Nearby Restaurants

  Sycamore Reviews
  • Highly Recommended
  • Recommended
  • Somewhat Recommended
  • Not Recommended

Chicago Tribune - Somewhat Recommended

"...Sander's story feels underdeveloped, and there's a palpable sense of rushing toward thematic closure by the end. But "Sycamore" demonstrates that she's got a deft hand with dialogue and an empathy for characters who are trying to find comfort in mundanity after upheaval, while still holding on to bigger dreams."
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Kerry Reid

Chicago Reader - Somewhat Recommended

"...Sander wants to reveal profound sexual and emotional angst just beneath the placid surface of suburban life (everyone's desperate to "escape"), but her unlikely dialogue, shortcut-heavy plotting, and manufactured resolution make most of the 70 minutes ring false. If director Devon de Mayo can't even get convincing performances out of respected veterans Robyn Coffin and Tom Hickey as the siblings' distraught parents, the fault lies with the material."
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Justin Hayford

Theatre By Numbers - Recommended

"..."Sycamore's" strengths and emotional depths are solidified by a cast of ridiculously talented young actors. Julian Larach gives Henry the apprehensive energy of a deer leaving the safety of the woods; he fears his own strong feelings more than anything. Johnathan Nieves is both sides of a free-spirited coin as John, at home in an emotional minefield, but vastly unprepared for the fallout. And Selina Fillinger is the real ticking time bomb of "Sycamore". As Celia she puts herself under so much duress to be a rock for her brother that we can see the cracks forming as soon as we meet her."
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Sean Margaret Wagner

Stage and Cinema - Somewhat Recommended

"...But that impasse, left unresolved at the end by the author's uncompromising honesty or her own blockage, doesn't exactly deliver a processed play. No question, every drama turns us into eavesdroppers but, with Sycamore, you'll wish you had spied on these folks a little bit longer."
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Lawrence Bommer

Splash Magazine - Highly Recommended

"...The acting was solid and the storyline was engaging. The performances of Johnathan Nieves (John) and Julian Larach (Henry) were outstanding. They both possessed the ability to draw you into their characters. Playwright Sarah Sander did a wonderful job revealing the wants and desires of most of the characters. I found myself left with a few questions regarding Jocelyn and David. Overall, I really enjoyed the production of Sycamore and I highly recommend it!"
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LaRita S. Smith

NewCity Chicago - Somewhat Recommended

"...If "Sycamore" is to have legs beyond its run here, Sander needs to ask herself why this play matters. In its current state it is not only dramatically flat but, even more disappointingly, incurious, content to reinforce stigma and stereotype rather than investigate what lies beneath."
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Kevin Greene

Chicago Theatre Review - Somewhat Recommended

"...Like Jeffrey D. Kmiecís beautiful, skeletal scenic design, Sarah Sanderís play is a fragmented a script. Sheís tried to force too much drama in a mere 75 minutes. As a result, thereís no opportunity for any plot development, and the conclusion seems too neatly wrapped up in a matter of minutes. Better that the playwright had chosen one or two characters or elements on which to focus. Perhaps, at some later date, she might flesh out some of these ideas into one, longer play. Both director Devon de Mayo and his competent cast, several of whom show brilliance, do everything in their power to make this drama breathe some real life. Itís simply a problem of an overstuffed play, trying to present too much in too short a time."
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Colin Douglas

Third Coast Review - Somewhat Recommended

"...If anything, the 75-minute play could be stretched out a little. Some of the storylines need more depth. For instance, the attraction between Celia and John isn't quite believable. And the animosity between the two siblings (brought about by an incident that resulted in Henry crashing the family car and ending up on medication for depression) ends rather abruptly. It turns out that Henry likes wearing Celia's clothes and is more comfortable in them. So when she gives him a special gift, their relationship suddenly warms."
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Nancy Bishop

Picture This Post - Recommended

"...SYCAMORE is a brief moment in these two families' lives. We get to know them and feel invested in seeing how they can move forward in the future. This is a play full of tender moments. We come to care about these characters. We feel their hurt feelings and we are rapt in this tale of how they are exploring sexuality and friendship with each other."
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Alexis Bugajski

Chicago Pride - Highly Recommended

"...The ensemble cast is excellent and works well together. Jaslene Gonzalez is a natural as the boozy mother next door. She's come a long way since America's Next Top model had her stumbling over lines as an actress."
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Jerry Nunn

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