Whether you walk in with expectations or not, Whisper Theatre Collective’s production of @MIDNIGHT will surely deviate from any preconceived notions.
A stage sits black with potential while the sound of a ticking clock echoes in the background of a narrow theater. When the lights finally illuminate the stage, five of six chairs are filled by people dressed in all black.
It all begins with their bodies and how their closeness, dependence, and silence interact with one another; mingling in front of us in what could be described as physical, interpretive dance. This stops when they sit down again in the chairs.
“Step one,” they say in unison, “do not use someone else’s blood.”
Whisper Theatre Collective’s Posits—Safety is something worth fighting for
And so begins the game they play on stage, The Midnight Game. Some characters come to us as antagonizers, others as companions—all as lost souls. This game they play, often times breaking the fourth wall to include us, is one where no one wins, but only provides safety to them, the lost—perhaps dead—souls. And so ushers in overarching themes: time and safety.
Between the hours of 12 a.m., midnight, and 3:33 a.m., characters must draw salt lines around and between them, and chant repeated lines, in order to protect themselves. And as 3:33 a.m. approaches, they chant again in unison, “Is there hope in tomorrow?” They then answer themselves, “No.”
This is all explained in the handout prior to the show beginning. The unfortunate thing, in this reviewer’s opinion, is that what was translated onto the stage during the performance didn’t amplify, clarify or in other ways heighten one’s experience of these themes by the performance. While costume changes, set rearrangement, and flickering lights may allude to such topics, they are never fully delivered to us.
For those looking for experimental theatre, who expect the unexpected @MIDNIGHT may be your cup of tea. Those looking for a more straightforward night of theater might look elsewhere.
Cast and Creative Team:
Brittany Price Anderson, Ben Heustess, Fate Richey, Richie Schiraldi, Gabrielle Wilson, and Jamie Gutfeldt (Stage Manager)
January 25, 2020 & February 22, 2020 at 7 p.m.
February 15, 2020 at midnight
3502 N. Elston Ave.
About the Author:
Margaret Smith is a writer, editor, and critic achieving her B.A. from Columbia College Chicago. Having migrated from small-town Illinois, she now dwells in Chicago with a curious eye for art and a penchant for commentary. When not putting pen to paper, you might catch her about the city sipping coffee and filling in crossword puzzles.