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  Us/Them at Chicago Shakespeare Theater


Chicago Shakespeare Theater
800 East Grand Avenue Chicago

Beslan, Russia, September 2004: Chechen separatists storm a school, taking hundreds of children hostage in a deadly three-day siege. What unfolds onstage is not a recounting of the tragedy, but rather a stunning, intricately choreographed exploration of the unique way that young people cope with disaster, told through the clear eyes of a girl and a boy trapped inside. After winning the The Scotsman Fringe First Award at Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Us/Them went on to an acclaimed run at the National Theatre of Great Britain and on tour around the globe.

Thru - Feb 3, 2019

Price: $38-$56

Show Type: Drama

Box Office: 312-595-5600

Running Time: 1hr

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  Us/Them Reviews
  • Highly Recommended
  • Recommended
  • Somewhat Recommended
  • Not Recommended

Chicago Tribune - Highly Recommended

"..."Us/Them" won't be for everyone, but if you're interested in the therapeutic value of storytelling, especially when the narrative is joined with that of another survivor, I doubt you'll move much of a muscle. And I think this a fine piece for teens to see. Its message is empowering."
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Chris Jones

Chicago On the Aisle - Recommended

"...The narrative in “Us/Them,” which occupies the Upstairs Stage at CST, is more direct and specifically tragic.Told in surreal fashion by two children, a boy and a girl, this memory play is historically based on the 2004 invasion by Chechnyan separatists of a school in Beslan, North Ossetia, an autonomous republic in the North Caucasus region of the Russian Federation. Writer-director Carly Wijs created the work in collaboration with Thomas Vantuycom."
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Lawrence B. Johnson

Stage and Cinema - Recommended

"...Employing a back wall with grappling hooks, a cat's cradle of ropes depicting bullet trajectories, black balloons and a chalkboard on which to scrawl information, Roman Van Houtven and Gytha Parmentier hurl themselves into recreating the normality of Beslan life, then the emergency that changes everything."
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Lawrence Bommer

Around The Town Chicago - Recommended

"...With a very simple set, mostly a black board and a chalk floor these two actor’s portrait the young children that were in the school and tell the story of the ordeal, with the use of dance, gymnastics, music and voice. For 60 minutes these two actors from Belgium, Gytha Parmentier and Roman Van Hautven can hold your thought and mind as they tell this chilling story with a sense of humor that a young child can display."
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Frank Meccia

NewCity Chicago - Highly Recommended

"...What makes "Us/Them" so compelling is the strength of the dialogue: not the conversation of the characters, but the way the bodies of the children tell a story in parallel to their words. They diagram the school grounds with chalk. They make a human-scale cat's cradle out of string. They scamper through the obstacle course they made with the agility of children as they're best remembered: invincible and infinitely imaginative. Parmentier and van Houtven give remarkable performances, embodying the way children think and act with unrestrained presence."
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Irene Hsiao

The Fourth Walsh - Highly Recommended

"...US/THEM is unique and innovative. I highly recommend seeing it for the powerful storytelling and the disturbing story."
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Katy Walsh

Picture This Post - Recommended

"...The brilliance in this work, in this writer's view, is centered most in the carefully considered staging details. How perfect that the cat's cradle labyrinth the two actors seamlessly assemble has the effect of scaling them down to child size."
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Amy Munice

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