Chimera Ensemble THE TOTALITARIANS Review – So Absurd It’s Real!

Poster courtesy of Chimera Ensemble

Enter the Manipulative Political Arena

No, you don’t have to go to Washington, D.C. …or even downtown Chicago. Step into Nebraska through Chimera Ensemble’s and playwright Peter Sinn Nachtrieb’s world that, sadly, isn’t so strange. THE TOTALITARIANS opened at Collaboraction’s Pentagon Theater in Wicker Park on June 8th and runs through July 2nd.

While our political scene these days is easy prey for satire this play delivers smart, dark and thought-provoking comedy. The script steers away from obvious jabs at public figures and instead takes on the system and the people who are responsible for the farce we call modern American politics…us!

Photo: Justin Miller

The characters, while caricatured, are as real as the audience they’ve roped into attend – insecure, loving, paranoid, manipulative, funny, frightened and hopeful. The simple stage provides a very adaptable canvas on which our own portraits are painted. It’s very easy to tag the angels and demons among our political “leadership,” but it takes artists – actors and playwright – to identify them in the true human skin we all wear.

A housewife-turned-politician, an up-and-coming campaign director/speech writer and her doctor-husband, along with a conspiracy theorist (who might just be onto something) tumble, fumble and chatter on stage to hold the canvas up for our inspection…or is it a mirror for our introspection?

The performance will be enjoyed by anyone who seeks catharsis from the toxicity of political discourse and who can laugh at themselves; it will disappoint those who expect the continued performance of the political Blame Game.



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.

Photo: Justin Miller
David Lovejoy in Chimera Ensemble's Regional Premiere of THE TOTALITARIANS by Peter Sinn Nachtrieb, directed by Scott Westerman Photo: Justin Miller


The Pentagon Theater at Collaboraction Studios
in the Flat Iron Building
1579 N. Milwaukee Ave.


Through July 2nd
Thursdays – Saturdays at 7:30 p.m.
Sundays at 3:00 p.m.


General Admission $28
Industry and Students $15 based on availability on Friday

Visit Chimera Ensemble online at

Photos: Justin Miller

Joseph Anthony Rulli
Photo courtesy of Nathanael Filbert

Joseph Anthony Rulli is a transplanted Hoosier, living in Chicago since the fall of 2006. A 1987 graduate of the University of Notre Dame (BA, History) and a 1992 graduate of St. Meinrad School of Theology (MDiv) he taught Social Studies, Religion, Philosophy and History at the high school level. He began writing as a career upon his arrival to his second city and has had two short stories published, a stage play performed, an electronic tour book published online and The Chicago Haymarket Affair, his first print book released in October.

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