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  Yen at Raven Theatre


Raven Theatre
6157 N. Clark St Chicago

London, right now. Two practically feral teenage brothers live alone in their filthy flat with a dog named Taliban, perpetually bathed in the blue glow of their screens: playing video games, watching porn, waiting for the occasional visit from their detached mother, and surviving. But when a strange neighbor girl barges through the door, the boys' little blue world begins to change color.

Thru - May 5, 2019

Price: $43-$46

Show Type: Drama

Box Office: 773-338-2177

Running Time: 2hrs, 15mins; one intermission

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  Yen Reviews
  • Highly Recommended
  • Recommended
  • Somewhat Recommended
  • Not Recommended

Chicago Tribune - Highly Recommended

"...“Yen” (the title references a Britishism for craving) is currently enjoying a unstinting little production in the studio space at the Raven Theatre under the dynamic direction of Elly Green. The setting, incidentally, is far removed from the work’s American premiere in New York, where it garnered all sorts of attention for hosting the professional stage debut of the young movie star Lucas Hedges. No stars here in this space carved out of an old supermarket, just admirable craft and difficult truths."
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Chris Jones

Chicago Reader - Highly Recommended

"...The cast's four talented actors not only pull off convincing British accents but also manage to make their sometimes repugnant characters lovable. Their ugliness is real and can't be helped. The evocative set and lighting, by Joe Schermoly and Claire Chrzan respectively, creates a recurring nightmare of a little world. Its inhabitants snipe at each other in feral attempts to connect. They can't help the way they are. They're still human, but just barely. Elly Green directed."
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Dmitry Samarov

Stage and Cinema - Recommended

"...Yen is no theatrical picnic in the park. It tells us to reckon with folks we'd cross the street to avoid. But that's how theater confirms our humanity-by forcing us to feel its full range."
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Lawrence Bommer

Splash Magazine - Highly Recommended

"...The audience is brought right up close to a seedy tenement studio apartment somewhere in the bowels of Britain. The splendid in-your-face dialogue and the superb way it's interpreted by these stunning actors is immediately engrossing; a close relationship develops between the audience and these vulnerable characters that is almost osmotic- they draw you in immediately. The breadth and depth of Jordan's- and the actors'- emotional range is enormous."
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Debra Davy

Around The Town Chicago - Somewhat Recommended

"...There are plays that are well written and poorly executed and there are plays that are well executed, but are badly written. In either case, the audience often will feel confused by what they witnessed. I like Raven Theatre! I think they are one of our companies that will bring us new works that are important, but, to be honest, their latest production, "Yen" written by Anna Jordan, was confusing and appeared to be a play with an unfit ending to what we witnessed on the stage."
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Alan Bresloff

NewCity Chicago - Highly Recommended

"...Anna Jordan’s “Yen,” fearlessly directed by Elly Green in its Chicago premiere at Raven Theatre, is not for everyone. It’s in a long line of plays that examine the toxicity of young white men through overt vulgarity, violence and brutal machismo. The works of Sam Shepard, Jez Butterworth and Lyle Kessler might come to mind during the performance. There is mention of sexual assault and violence against animals in addition to the general chaotic machinations of the unleashed id of teenage boys. But Jordan’s play has a lot more on its mind than just providing an arena for the raw, boundless performances of Jesse Aaronson and Reed Lancaster."
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Ben Kaye

Chicago Theatre Review - Highly Recommended

"...Dysfunctional families are as common today on stage and film as loving, two-parent families once were in the mid-twentieth century. But, in Anna Jordan’s riveting play, now having its Chicago premiere at Raven Theatre, the dysfunction is tempered by two brothers’ love for each other and the kindness of a stranger. Sensitively directed by Elly Green, with a stellar quartet of gifted actors, this drama may be difficult to watch, and it’s definitely not for the squeamish. It’s filled with moments that may offend, even shock, the most conservative audiences. But, as staged within Joe Schermoly’s detailed dirty contemporary English flat, but these characters and their story are guaranteed to haunt the liberal, open-minded theatergoer for a long time to come."
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Colin Douglas

Picture This Post - Recommended

"...A captivating ensemble with skillful staging and a frightening script make Yen an event to experience. This writer is certainly still unpacking everything that she witnessed."
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Lauren Katz

  Yen 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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