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  The Harvest at The Den Theatre

The Harvest

The Den Theatre
1329-1333 N. Milwaukee Chicago

In the basement of a small evangelical church in southeastern Idaho, a group of young missionaries is preparing to go to the Middle East. When one of the missionaries - a young man - has a crisis of faith on his spiritual journey, it reminds us that faith doesn't come easily, no matter where you look for it.

Presented by Griffin Theatre Company

Thru - Aug 25, 2018

Price: $36

Show Type: Drama

Box Office: 773-697-3830

Running Time: 1hr, 45mins

  The Harvest Reviews
  • Highly Recommended
  • Recommended
  • Somewhat Recommended
  • Not Recommended

Chicago Tribune - Recommended

"...My attention wandered at times, given that no one ever really gets anywhere. But the honesty of the acting, and the careful direction, kept bringing me back. Ada, a good egg and the best source of hope in that work, especially has stayed with me these last several hours, even if her copious amounts of empathy and compassion seem destined to crash into a great brick wall of impotence."
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Chris Jones

Chicago Sun Times - Highly Recommended

"...Director Jonathan Berry, who also helmed Griffin's production of "Pocatello" in 2015, is a terrific match for Hunter. Again and again over the last decade or so, Berry has demonstrated an aptitude for identifying this city's top young actors and eliciting from them grounded portrayals of everyday desperation. With its nuanced interrogation of faith and resonant, moving work by Diaz, Rice and Nozicka, "The Harvest" should yield a bumper crop of post-show conversations."
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Kris Vire

Chicago Reader - Highly Recommended

"...But Hunter and Berry are both scrupulous in their compassion toward their characters. Josh, Tom, Denise, and the others are allowed to believe and to struggle with belief like anyone with a sense of commitment—and a reasonable fear of that commitment—might. Indeed, the strange final seconds of the play are as much a challenge to a liberal audience as they are to the people onstage. Those brilliant seconds acknowledge that there are more things on heaven and earth than are thought of in anybody's philosophy. Anybody's at all."
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Tony Adler

Windy City Times - Highly Recommended

"...The Harvest is a lovely and intelligent ensemble piece, from the opening scene of glossolalia to the final lady-or-the-tiger moment when Josh must choose the course that will determine his future, and maybe Tom's, too. All the actors perform with conviction as directed by Jonathan Berry, in a slightly-claustrophobic church basement set, a multi-function room, neatly designed by Sotirios Livaditis. Blashill is particularly good, entering late in this 100-minute work and performing a near-monolog with quiet authority and genuine humanity, against the hell-and-brimstone the audience anticipates. It's cagey writing which highlights the dilemma of Josh and Tom, caught between what is expected of them and their fundamental doubts."
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Jonathan Abarbanel

Time Out Chicago - Highly Recommended

"...In The Harvest, Hunter is writing as much about growing up as he is about having faith in God. And, really, the two aren't that different. Both biblical literalism and teenage certitude tend to falter when put up against the great unknown of being on your own. The play opens and closes with the characters praying so ecstatically that they speak in tongues. The words coming out of their mouths are nonsense, but it is precisely that act of speaking nonsensically that brings them closer to God. Sounds about right-or at least, not entirely wrong. Either way, it's close enough."
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Alex Huntsberger

Theatre By Numbers - Recommended

"...While faith may not be true in the sense that it leads these characters to work against their instincts, desires, and relationships, its mystery is part of the reward. If we understood exactly why we believe what we believe, if we could explain it simply and easily, wouldn’t our beliefs lose power over time? For these people living on the edge, the doubt more than the faith is what keeps them going."
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Sarah Bowden

Around The Town Chicago - Recommended

"...What would your mindset be if you were asked to leave your home and country, go to the Middle East , and attempt to convert the people to find Christianity? Could you do it? Griffin Theatre Company is now presenting Samuel D. Hunter’s “The Harvest”, a play ( in its Chicago Premiere) that deals with a group of five young people, Missionaries, who have been preparing for this exact mission. The play, 105 minutes, no intermission) all takes place in the basement of a small Evangelical church, in Idaho- and it is in the present!"
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Alan Bresloff

NewCity Chicago - Highly Recommended

"...Hunter’s magic is to humanize each of his scarred individuals, allowing us to see their side of an argument that many theatergoers might otherwise shut out. Director Jonathan Berry’s cast rises to this fulfilling challenge, committing fully to the role of postulants of the larger dialogue. If playing drunk is a delicate feat for any actor because it requires the artist to try not to appear what they are attempting to project, how much more challenging is the obligation to spontaneous “speaking in tongues,” here a free-wheeling exercise in faith, seen as a direct conversation with God?"
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Aaron Hunt

WTTW - Highly Recommended

"...Director Jonathan Berry, who several seasons back did such a splendid job with Griffin's production of Hunter's earlier play, "Pocatello," is in perfect synch with this playwright's work and the way he can tap into the way broken souls grasp for meaning and connection. And he has gathered a cast capable of suggesting both zeal and doubt, naïvete and growing awareness, snarkiness and fervency."
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Hedy Weiss

Chicago Theatre Review - Highly Recommended

"...This play, which melds together several wildly different views about religion, is a powerful production that stands alone. It opens and closes with two unforgettable scenes, while interspersed within its 105 minutes by lots of exposition and character development. An eleventh hour monologue, nicely delivered by Patrick Blashill as Pastor Chuck, is a little much at that moment, but it provides both Josh and the audience with some necessary information that motivates the play’s final moments. Under Jonathan Berry’s expert, ever-so-slightly theatrical direction, with his guidance of this magnificent ensemble of actors, there beats a heart of realism that bursts with love."
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Colin Douglas

Third Coast Review - Highly Recommended

"...Hunter sketches these relationships with such precision that every exchange feels like a revelation, and Berry manages to reveal the epic inside the ordinary atop Sotirios Livaditis' somber church basement set. The opening moments left me fascinated; the ending, which mirrors the beginning with eerie dissonance, gave me chills and more questions than answers. And that is where The Harvestis truly brilliant- in its ability to repeatedly provide the experience of gaining, losing, and doubting the utility of belief."
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Matthew Nerber

TotalTheater - Highly Recommended

"...The Book of Mormon mocked the Church of Latter-Day Saints, but Samuel Hunter recognizes fully the confusion inherent in the melding of youthful restlessness with a creed as mystical in its rituals (ecstatic chanting, for example) as it is rigid in secular dynamics exacerbated by the environmental isolation of rural Idaho. To be sure, the call to evangelism may serve as an escape route, but the way is hard for those confronting the complexities of a global culture after a life of contemplative seclusion."
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Mary Shen Barnidge

Picture This Post - Recommended

"...The back stories of each of these characters are so well-drawn in this script by award-winning playwright Samuel D. Hunter that we can feel like we’ve known them all our lives. For this writer though, the pièce de resistance script gem is when Denise, during an evangelizing play-acting exercise, proffers an argument for atheism suggesting we all just grow up and admit that our lives’ purpose might be more akin to opening a soda can and drinking its contents. This unlikely soda can poetic image bookends the script."
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Amy Munice

  The Harvest Photo Gallery

   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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