New Colony Presents SCAPEGOAT; OR (WHY THE DEVIL ALWAYS LOVED US) Review – Political Drama

The New Colony continues its 2017 season with the world premiere of SCAPEGOAT; OR (WHY THE DEVIL ALWAYS LOVED US).  The company focuses on new and relevant work. Audiences will not be disappointed with this fresh piece.  The production is a clear commentary on the state of things in the world right now.  This intimate look at a big picture topic both entertains and provokes thought.


The story focuses on the Porters, a political family. As a so-called Religious Freedom Bill is being pushed through Congress, the family patriarch is outed as a Satanist. The father is vehemently opposed to the bill. The son, having recently lost his wife, has rebelled against the family’s choice of religion and found Christianity. Those pushing the bill through have decided to use the son, also in politics, in order to directly oppose the father. The audience is privy to both sides of the coin in this political drama. Not only are political points of view challenged, but the loyalties among the family members are tested during this heated period.


The production is mounted at The Den Theatre. The small space gives added tension during the most pivotal scenes and keeps the audience directly in the action.

As we enter the space, there are very few lights on. We feel the darkness. We immediately know what the mood will be throughout. The lighting designer, Heather Sparling, cleverly designs darkness and light changes to coincide perfectly with dialogue. This is one of few shows where a lighting cue elicited a laugh from the audience. The action happening in the darkness might be just as important as the action in the foreground.


Connor McNamara, the playwright, does not fail to deliver on the fast-paced dialogue audiences are used to seeing in political drama. Information is vast and time is limited. McNamara uses dialogue on top of dialogue in order to get multiple characters’ views across and to build tension. McNamara’s intense writing is complemented by Kristina Valada-Viars’ direction. The actors work well together as an ensemble and scenes which involve characters in different locations at the same time are orchestrated perfectly. The tension between family members is portrayed differently from the tension between opposing political foes. The actors succeed at the underlying loathing but polite face of interacting with those of opposing viewpoints.

Photos by Evan Hanover


Top Pick For: The Political-Minded
Not recommended for: Those looking to forget what’s going on in the world

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.


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


April 14 - May 7, 2017
Thursdays, Fridays & Saturdays 7:30PM
Sundays 3:00PM


The Den Theatre Upstairs Main Stage
1333 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago


Students/Seniors 25% off
Online at www.the

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