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  The Flick at Steppenwolf Theatre

The Flick

Steppenwolf Theatre
1650 N. Halsted Chicago

Three underpaid employees sweep up stale popcorn in a run-down movie house called The Flick, one of the last theaters in Massachusetts still projecting 35mm films. For Avery, this isn’t a dead-end job. It’s a way to get closer to the art form he loves. Passionate debates about cinema lead to a friendship of sorts with co-workers Sam and Rose. But will their tentative bond survive as they reveal what they actually need from each other? The Flick is a heartfelt cry for the kind of authentic connection we all want, even if we’re a little afraid of it.

Thru - May 8, 2016

Price: $20-$89

Stage: Upstairs Theatre

Show Type: Drama

Box Office: 312-335-1650

Running Time: 3hrs, 10mins; one intermission

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  The Flick Reviews
  • Highly Recommended
  • Recommended
  • Somewhat Recommended
  • Not Recommended

Chicago Tribune - Highly Recommended

"...Rest assured there are some laughs along with all the melancholy — and there is little sentimental in this hugely impressive Baker symphony for three analog ushers, each on his or her way out (well, maybe not Avery). As a group of people they're not lovable: they skim off the top, they know not how to love and their relationships are as pathetic as their attempts at intimacy. Maybe 35-millimeter authenticity was always a pipe dream, the analog never being fully achievable, anyway, even if it offered a bit of comfort to trash bag-hauling lost souls as it flickered in the light."
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Chris Jones

Chicago Sun Times - Recommended

"...This is a play that operates according to its own very particular clock, a clock that beats to the time of three people with diminished expectations about themselves, about human relationships and about the more pedestrian notion of success. But that is just the seemingly slowed-down or suppressed surface of their existence. There are volcanoes underneath."
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Hedy Weiss

Chicago Reader - Recommended

"...Baker's dialogue is virtuosic, and she's a strong storyteller even if her stories unfold at a glacial pace. Director Dexter Bullard's production re-creates the look and feel of a movie house and highlights the drama coiled within it with the attention to detail of a Chuck Close painting. Likewise, his superb four-person ensemble succeeds in imbuing the most mundane task with meaning. And believe me, this play is packed with mundane tasks."
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Jack Helbig

Time Out Chicago - Highly Recommended

"...Baker leans into lulls and silences even more strongly here than in her earlier works; this is a play in which “More incredulous pausing” is a perfectly reasonable stage direction. It might indeed get tedious if director Dexter Bullard and this dead-on cast didn’t make these characters so recognizable, and as moving as the pictures on the screen."
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Kris Vire

Chicago On the Aisle - Highly Recommended

"...When "The Flick" premiered in New York, the Facebook and Twitter realm had its fair share of comments from people who lost patience with the deliberate pace and exercised their inalienable right to exit. Hopefully, Baker's style is better understood these days, and the urge won't overtake you. Remember your Beckett. Enable your inner Wagnerian opera clock. Take a deep breath. Let this show happen to you and the minutes will fly."
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Nancy Malitz

Stage and Cinema - Recommended

"...Admittedly, it shouldn’t take three hours to reach a familiar impasse. No doubt some audience members, fidgeting and then lulled by Baker’s intentionally lackluster slice of Sominex, will doze like the sole customer. But for those who at least keep their ears open, especially the young in the crowd, The Flick probably projects their angst and anguish—and in warm and shaded 35mm, not cold and precise digital."
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Lawrence Bommer

ChicagoCritic - Recommended

"...The Flick clearly communicates the pervasive feeling among the younger generation, and perhaps, many older people as well who sacrificed pleasure for careers and got neither. Is it enjoyable to experience? Well, there’s humor and recognition, but self-recognition in a play like this isn’t enjoyable. Unusually for Baker, no empathy between characters can survive in this work, and it’s left to the audience to either inject some or change the world to make The Flick impossible. The play has no explicit politics, but this campaign season, people need to understand that drudgery isn’t dramatic. It looks like this."
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Jacob Davis

Chicago Stage Standard - Recommended

"...For anyone who has ever worked a crummy job, "The Flick" won't feel exotic. The set's artful dilapidation-its stained ceiling, cobwebbed corners, and worn velvet seating-suggests a place from which time has moved on but the play's characters haven't. But if recognition of self is theatre's primary purpose, as I suspect it might be, then this production delivers more than the average. The workaday routines of three co-workers at one of the last movie theaters with a 35-millimeter projector speak almost as powerfully as our own lives to the deeper longings lurking beneath the daily grind's surface."

Melissa Wiley

Around The Town Chicago - Recommended

"... In a lot of ways, Steppenwolf’s production of “The Flick” reminded me of vacation trips when my children would ask “Are we there yet?” every five minutes. My “C” crew – Cindy, Colleen and Crista – were all in agreement, “The Flick” could use some judicious pruning. On the other hand, it is perfectly cast and superbly acted, and it has an interesting story to tell."
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Carol Moore

NewCity Chicago - Recommended

"...What ultimately saves the very serious heart of Baker's play is the compelling performances. When Rose (Caroline Neff) hears that film buff Avery once attempted suicide, she says, "I don't get suicide. It's like: aren't you curious what's gonna like happen to you? In, like, the future?" On the page, her response seems flip and funny. But Neff utters it with the confused dread of a person who seems more like a little girl than a confident woman."
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Michael Amedeo

Chicago Theatre Review - Highly Recommended

"...There are no big dramatic scenes, no earth-shattering revelations or plot turns. The long silences can try the theatergoer’s patience and the minutes can be counted by the amount of spilled popcorn that’s swept. There’s not much action and sometimes very little dialogue. Yet Annie Baker’s multi award-winning play, that just recently ended its New York run, quietly leaves audiences ultimately moved and invested in these characters. As they run the projector and clean up after each showing, Avery, Sam and Rose discuss film, family and the funk that slovenly movie patrons have left behind. And in the end we’ve all made a strong, lasting connection."
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Colin Douglas

Chicagoland Theater Reviews - Highly Recommended

"...“The Flick” demands patience from the audience. The three hours (including one intermission) do not exactly fly by. The boredom of much of the action can carry over to an audience used to shorter and more kinetic playgoing experiences. I confess to sneaking peaks at my wristwatch, especially in the first act. But the attentive viewer will be rewarded in the end. The play won the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for drama, the prize committee making a gutsy selection. Steppenwolf likewise made a brave choice in taking on the high-risk play, and it has done the show proud."

Dan Zeff

Third Coast Review - Highly Recommended

"...Playwright Baker has a knack for dialogue that is dead-on realistic. And Dexter Bullard's careful direction of the three excellent actors and their mutual interpretation of the script build a thoughtful mood to a conclusion that leaves you wondering about the futures of the three characters."
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Nancy Bishop

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