Theatre In Chicago      
Your Source For What's On Stage In Chicago 

   Quick Search
Search by date:

  The Nether at A Red Orchid Theatre

The Nether

A Red Orchid Theatre
1531 N. Wells Street Chicago

A young detective uncovers a disturbing brand of entertainment, triggering an interrogation into the darkest corners of the imagination and the most basic of human desires. The Nether is a virtual wonderland that provides total sensory immersion; a beautifulescape that ultimately begs some very serious questions about responsibility, connectivity and love.

Thru - Mar 12, 2017

Price: $30-$35

Show Type: Drama

Box Office: 312-943-8722

Running Time: 1hr, 25mins; no intermission

Nearby Restaurants

  The Nether Reviews
  • Highly Recommended
  • Recommended
  • Somewhat Recommended
  • Not Recommended

Chicago Tribune - Somewhat Recommended

"...What is missing from this production is a real sense of the virtual world - the setting, by John Musial, is idyllic, but there isn't a real manifestation of the synthetic, the high-definition glow of perverse perfection - that was on view at Woolly Mammoth. The director of the Chicago premiere, Karen Kessler, has gone for a much simpler staging - which makes the acting more personal, I suppose, but the piece suffers from that lack of a sharp contrast between its worlds. Most plays are best in a highly intimate theater; I'm not sure that applies to this one."
Read Full Review

Chris Jones

Chicago Reader - Highly Recommended

"...In A Red Orchid's production, a shadowy corporation called the Nether has enabled users to fulfill their fantasies in hyperrealistic digital "realms" without fear of consequence. Reclusive Web developer Sims (Guy Van Swearingen) is under arrest at the Nether for encouraging pedophilia in his private, quaintly Victorian paradise, the Hideaway. What plays out, in half the scenes, between plugged-in avatars at the Hideaway and, in the other half, between their human counterparts in Sims's interrogation chamber blurs all the boundaries between appearance and reality, questioning the effectiveness of laws when people live in a disembodied existence. Directed by A Red Orchid ensemble member Karen Kessler, the show is impeccably staged, and all of the performances are deeply moving."
Read Full Review

Max Maller

Chicago On the Aisle - Recommended

"...As "The Nether" whirls toward its stunning conclusion, some raw truths push to the surface about the human condition - through that permeable, perhaps virtual, membrane that shields us from our untamed origins in the unconscious."
Read Full Review

Lawrence B. Johnson

Stage and Cinema - Recommended

"...Much here recalls Hans Christian Andersen's still seminal fairy tale "The Emperor's Nightingale": There a mechanical simulation of the bird enchants a Chinese monarch until, nearing death, he sees-and, too late, values-the real nightingale that the fake one couldn't supplant. In the 21st century, it seems, the opposite may happen: We expect technology to be more than the art that improves on life: It should replace it. When that happens, no one who saw The Nether can possibly be surprised. Log in at your risk."
Read Full Review

Lawrence Bommer

ChicagoCritic - Highly Recommended

"...The Nether contains powerfully disturbing performances by Guy Van Swearingen and Doug Vickers as the two weirdo who cherish The Hideaway. This play will shock and creep you as it gets you to worry about how technology will interact with human frailty. Will these virtual realities do more hard that entertain? And what is societies responsibility to police these powerful sensory immersion sites? This play, it'll shake up your world."
Read Full Review

Tom Williams

NewCity Chicago - Highly Recommended

"..."The Nether" engages on several planes simultaneously, balancing itself like a finely tuned machine. A smart, edgy and essential play, it is a perfect fit for A Red Orchid, a company that is unafraid of ambiguity or artistic challenges. And we need that mentality now more than ever. For as this play proposes, we cannot know the world until we truly know ourselves."
Read Full Review

Kevin Greene

Chicago Theatre Review - Somewhat Recommended

"...This disturbing play isn’t for every taste. It will haunt audiences long after the climax, but it also raises many issues about our limitless imagination, especially as man continues to explore and plumb the internet. Jennifer Haley’s drama explores the premise that there’s no law governing the pretend world of the Nether, as long as no real person is involved in any virtual crimes. But what is not governed by law in this smarmy Wonderland might be disgusting and immoral to many of us. What we discover in this dark, gloomy adult play, enhanced by an imaginative scenic, sound and lighting design by John Musial, Joe Court and Mike Durst, is creepy and difficult to witness."
Read Full Review

Colin Douglas

Third Coast Review - Recommended

"...The Nether is smartly written and plotted, although it fails to persuade us to feel any real human connection to any of its characters. I was impressed by the production that I saw last year at the InterAct Theatre in Philadelphia. The realm of the Nether is an ominous and chilling version of Second Life, which probably has the potential to be equally ominous and chilling if we let our virtual selves take over our so-far-real lives."
Read Full Review

Nancy Bishop

  The Nether 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.

Twitter Follow Us On Twitter