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  What of the Night? at Theater Wit

What of the Night?

Theater Wit
1229 W Belmont Ave Chicago

A finalist for the 1990 Pulitzer Prize, What of the Night? interweaves four one-acts that follow an extended family whose lives are intricately intertwined even as they try to escape the ties that bind them. When Birdie, a just-married 14-year-old leaves her impoverished home to seek a better life, she unwittingly sets in motion a sprawling epic spanning time and geography. Her daughter Rainbow finds love. Her son Charlie finds solace in loyalty. Her son Ray finds the trappings of success. For each, survival and the preservation of loved ones is the name of the game. Though their yearnings are briefly rewarded, Fornes's lyrical play lays bare the difference between the hunger of the soul and the hunger of the ego.

Presented by Chicago's Cor Theater and Stage Left Theatre

Thru - Feb 12, 2017

Price: $18-$30

Show Type: Drama

Box Office: 773-975-8150

Running Time: 2hrs, 55mins

  What of the Night? Reviews
  • Highly Recommended
  • Recommended
  • Somewhat Recommended
  • Not Recommended

Chicago Tribune - Recommended

"...Right now, "What of the Night?" (Fornes since dropped the "And") is being produced in Chicago in an expansive and ambitious production by Stage Left Theatre and Cor Theatre under the direction of the playwright Carlos Murillo, an artist unafraid of risk. This is a heavy night of theater - the content is raw, sexualized, politicized and disturbing, the cast is young and intense, the acting is uneven if often moving, and the running time is a hefty three hours of intimate involvement with dense work unconcerned with conventional narrative tension."
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Chris Jones

Chicago Sun Times - Highly Recommended

"..."What of the Night?," Maria Irene Fornes' raw, blistering tale of love, loss, betrayal, sacrifice, isolation, violence, poverty, the currency of sex, and the power of language, is not for the meek."
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Hedy Weiss

Chicago Reader - Somewhat Recommended

"...Through it all, the enduring values are cruelty, scarcity, exploitation, and weaponized love. Carlos Murillo's staging for Stage Left and Cor theaters features some solid performances (especially by Miguel Nuñez as the Fagin), striking images, and pacing that makes the three-hour running time move well. But when the action drops below a certain height-characters sitting on the floor, say-only the first row can see."
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Tony Adler

Time Out Chicago - Recommended

"...What of the Night? gets better following the intermission, which is mostly owing to the fact that it gets much, much weirder, too. The third episode, set from 1968 to 1983, features Rainbow and Charlie's brother, Ray (Nelson Rodriguez), who was given up as a baby and now finds himself firmly ensconced in the middle class. Ray marries Leah (Kate Black-Spence), the slightly disturbed daughter of his rich boss (Stephen Loch). What follows is a kind of Marxist-sexual nightmare, as Ray's devotion to his work and his distaste for Leah drives them both to the brink of sanity. There is a full-out dream sequence that's best described as "Twin Peaks for the socially conscious.""
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Alex Huntsberger

Stage and Cinema - Not Recommended

"...These two acts are too inept even to suggest whatever good intentions sparked Fornes to pen this piece or two excellent theaters to mount it. Anyway, motivation couldn't matter less when What of the Night? is as much a confounding bore as a rhetorical question."
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Lawrence Bommer

ChicagoCritic - Somewhat Recommended

"...I believe this is a true “love it or hate it play” that is worthy of an audience. It is one of those important theatrical experiences that you may hate it after seeing it but you were glad that you saw it. What of the Night? left me worn out yet impressed. It demonstrates the power of unique storytelling live onstage. Serious theatre patrons will be impressed despite its flaws. It is a brave production."
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Tom Williams

Around The Town Chicago - Somewhat Recommended

"... Watching “What of the Night?” was an extremely frustrating experience. Instead of concentrating on the story, I was trying to find a way to actually see the performance. Who knows, I might have had good things to say about the play if I could have seen the performers. “What of the Night?” was long and depressing, with lots of fraught pauses and hand-wringing."
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Carol Moore

Chicago Theater Beat - Highly Recommended

"...This is an extremely heavy play to sit through. Very intense, especially in the Hunger segment. It is certainly a worthy show which this reviewer recommends, but can be a long slog. Don’t miss out on seeing this rarely-produced but pivotal piece."

Mark Davidson

Picture This Post - Somewhat Recommended

"...Stage Left Theater and Cor Theater are now presenting What of the Night? at The Wit Theater. This is Fornes's exploration of the moral and financial bankruptcy that befalls those who are trapped in poverty or seek unmitigated economic success. It takes the form of a sprawling, multigenerational family saga in four acts stretching from the Depression era to a dystopian future but it's told in intimate vignettes that often hit you like bursts of fire in vintage Fornes fashion. Unfortunately, the ambitious scale of the play, and the increasingly abstract nature of what unfolds onstage turn the last third of Stage Left Theater's 2 hour and 45 minute production into unintelligible, tedious, solipsistic mush."
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Hector F. Pascual

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