Jackalope Theatre Company IDEATION Review – A Puzzling Proposition

The conference room is in disarray. Someone’s nose is bleeding. The Moana soundtrack is blasting over the speakers. The one question that remains as we stare at this scene is how did it all come to this? In Jackalope’s latest Midwest premiere, IDEATION, we find out what happens when a team lets their minds spin out of control.

Jackalope’s Conspiracy Theory

A team at an unknown company are in for a real dilemma in IDEATION. Hannah, Sandeep, Brock, and Ted are assigned a task that is morally ambiguous. The only info we’re given is that this is top secret— very hush hush. It isn’t until they attempt to figure out the endgame for this assignment that they start wondering if they should even be involved at all!

As soon as they think they have one piece of the puzzle figured out, their minds begin to travel down another rabbit hole. Where are they on the totem pole of importance? Is this a test? Are they being watched at this very moment? Can they even trust each other? The deeper they think about their plans and potential outcomes, the further they seem to get from the truth.

IDEATION shows how quickly our minds can become paranoid and how conspiracy theories can start. However, with this book written by Aaron Loeb and performed by this superb cast, it feels believable at every turn.

 

Jackalope Theatre IDEATION
Rachel Sullivan and Japhet Balaban Photo: Joel Maisonet
Jackalope Theatre IDEATION
Rachel Sullivan, Henry Greenberg, Japhet Balaban, and Michael Kingston Photo: Joel Maisonet

Believable Cast In Extraordinary Circumstances

One of the best things about IDEATION is how normal is all seems. Hannah and Scooter, played by Rachel Sullivan and Henry Greenberg, set the scene for us as they prepare a typical conference room for a big meeting. The rest of the team shows up riding high from their most recent successful trip to Greece, ready to take on their next challenge.

This normalcy lulls us into a false sense of security and leads us to trust these experts. When they start trying to figure out the logistics of this situation, we believe they are on the right track. Their minds seem to be in the right place and we have no reason not to think they’d be wrong.

 

However, when people start leaving the conference room and coming back reporting strange occurrences happening, we start to doubt everyone and everything. Brock, played by Japhet Balaban plays the confident team leader, that is, until he starts nervously running his hands through his hair. And Ted nicknamed “Papa Bear”, played by Michael Kingston, seems like he would have a level head in this situation, but we know he’s about as confused as we are with his bouts of frustrated shouting.

The situation keeps escalating and in the end we ask if anyone really knows what is true.

Jackalope Theatre IDEATION
Japhet Balaban, Kaiser Ahmed, Henry Greenberg, Rachel Sullivan, and Michael Kingston Photo: Joel Maisonet

Minds Reeling By The End

The brilliance of IDEATION is its ability to make its audience members do exactly the same thing its characters are trying to do. As you walk out of the theater, expect to keep trying to piece things together—what’s real and what’s conspiracy?

IDEATION is a mind bender. It leaves you guessing at every turn. Every time they delve deeper into trying to solve this puzzle, we’re drawn in more. Before we know it, we’re at a point where we have no idea how we even spiraled this far!
It might not be for those looking for a calm night out. But if you’re looking for a show that leaves you thinking about it for days after, IDEATION is the one for you.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

Note: This is now added to the Picture this Post round up of BEST PLAYS IN CHICAGO. Click here to read — Top Picks for Theater in Chicago NOW – Chicago Plays PICTURE THIS POST Loves.

 

Jackalope Theatre IDEATION
Kaiser Ahmed and Rachel Sullivan Photo: Joel Maisonet

When

Now through June 25th
Thursdays – Saturdays at 7:30pm
Sundays at 3:00pm

Where

Broadway Armory Park
5917 N Broadway St.
Chicago, IL 60660

 

Note: An excerpt of this review appears in Theatre in Chicago.

Tickets

$25
Tickets can be purchased through Jackalope Theatre’s website

Photos

Joel Maisonet

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