Review “Ideation” (Jackalope Theatre): F#cking Terrifying!

Thursday, May 18, 2017 Permalink

Jackalope Theatre presents the Midwest Premiere of IDEATION.

Playwright Aaron Loeb pens a thought-provoking drama riddled with humor. A consulting team needs to pitch their next project to their boss in ninety minutes. That’s as much as I’m willing to reveal as to not spoil the experience for you!  This thriller is meant to be lived. The ninety minutes is in actual time. As consultants follow chains of thought, we are in the room as it happens. As the characters map out the project scope, the reality hits them and us simultaneously. This is “Fast and Furious” but instead of cars, it’s theories.  And these crash and burn theories race across the whiteboard full throttle with the winning idea somewhere in the wreckage.

Director Gus Menary masterfully directs his talented ensemble: Rachel Sullivan (Hannah), Kaiser Ahmed* (Sandeep), Japhet Balaban (Brock), Michael Kingston (Ted), and Henry Greenberg (Scooter). They interact with an authenticity that feels unrehearsed. The banter is continually interrupted. People talk over each other to get an idea across.  Concepts are introduced in abbreviation. The reminder that the ‘n word is off the table’ and a regular reference to Helsinki immediately bonds the group as we play constant catch up to grasp the surreal. Their genuine camaraderie makes the series of implosions even more tense. I’m so thoroughly engaged in the tireless finger pointing that I have no idea what or who I believe.

This is my favorite Jackalope show ever. The writing, directing and acting is the perfect storm. IDEATION is tight! In these political times of conspiracy, collusion and uncertainty, the sublime ensemble speculates us down ALL the rabbit holes. At several points, the chilling realizations made me equally queasy and f#cking terrified. WTF?  Is this my worst nightmare or a present reality? Well done, Jackalope! I may not sleep sound for weeks.

Running Time: Ninety minutes with no intermission

At Broadway Armory Park, 5917 N. Broadway

Written by Aaron Loeb

Directed by Gus Menary

Thru June 17th

Buy Tickets at www.jackalopetheatre.org 

Photo by Joel Maisonet

For more information and reviews on Chicago theatre, visit Theater in Chicago.

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