Centerstage - Chicago's Original City Guide

Virtual L ®

CRUMB and FestFile is Centerstage Chicago's Weekly E-Newsletter.
Enter your email to get
our weekly newsletter:

Theater Shows
Oh the Humanity (and other exclamations)

Simple, honest, strange, heartbreaking.

centerstage reviewed this performanceReviewed by Centerstage!Go Chicago!

The Gift Theatre Company
4802 N. Milwaukee Ave.
Chicago, IL 60630 Map This Place!Map it
Tickets: or (773) 283-7071

Will Eno


Related Info:
Official website

Runs June 14, 2012-August 12, 2012

Friday7:30 p.m
Saturday7:30 p.m.
Sunday2:30 p.m.
Thursday7:30 p.m.

Recommended a "Must See" Show

An odd, unsettling collection of shorts from the new existential playwright Will Eno receives a bare-boned and heartfelt production at the Gift Theatre. Although Eno's monologues, which start in reality before spiraling out into the cosmically absurd, are heady stuff, the Gift's actors keep things grounded, showcasing the wit and humanity of the script. In its closing weekend.

reviewed performanceCenterstage Show Review
Reviewer: Alex Huntsberger
Wednesday Jun 20, 2012

The Gift Theatre’s production of “Oh, the Humanity (and other exclamations)” is like staring at your reflection in the bottom of a whiskey glass, that brief moment of perspective that only comes after a long and lonely night. A collection of 5 short plays that runs only an hour, “Oh, the Humanity” nonetheless tackles subjects that man has pondered for millennia: namely life and the meaning of it. More often than not, the plays are little more than monologues, the simplest vehicles possible for Eno’s touching ruminations. Director Michael Patrick Thornton obviously understands that the words provided need no embellishment. His production is simple, honest and heartbreaking.

With one exception, each of play consists of a direct address: a losing football coach at a press conference, a pair of lonely singles recording videos for a dating service, a spokeswoman for an airline following a tragic crash and a pair of photographers using the audience to recreate a classic photograph. They start in something resembling the realm of reality, but quickly spin out into a kind of inner monologue unfurled. The hope, the fear, the longing that lies jut beneath the surface of everyday speech is laid bare. (Luckily, Eno also has a quick wit and a delightful absurdist streak too, lest the mood get too heavy.) In the final, titular play, a couple cannot remember if they’re late for a christening or a funeral or maybe both. As though there were a difference.

The Gift’s lean cast of 3 (Brittany Burch, John Farrugio and John Gawlik) play Eno’s soaring language close to their chests, most often they are simply speaking, plainly and with little affectation, almost as if they reciting an ancient prayer. Where some actors might shout or bellow to convey emotion, their voices crack or their gaze turns inward. They stand alone on an almost blank stage (set by Thornton and David Preis) and they exist. Anything more would be too much, anything less would pretty much be silence.

Looking for Suggestions?
Centerstage's staff recommends a select number of shows we feel you MUST-SEE!

chicago, metromix