Sunday December 17th 2017

“Enron”

Highly Recommended****Timeline Theatre Company loves to bring us theater with stories that deal with history and continue to scour the headlines for just the right stories. Everyone is familiar with Enron and what their rise and fall did to many investors and all of their employees, who gave their hearts and souls ( along with their money). It seems so far away, first the news of this scandal broke, but it all came down in 2001, just 11 years ago.In this almost accurate story of this real company, one that was far more interested in raising their stock prices than doing anything that might help the country, the employees they hired and possibly their country, written by Lucy Prebble, we follow the office politics that go on in Houston Texas, as Enron “players” work their greed on Kenneth Lay ( the always reliable Terry Hamilton). The main “players” are Jeffrey Skilling (a marvelous portrayal by Bret Tuomi, who truly looks and sounds as if he could be a member of the Skillings Family) and Claudia Roe ( deftly handled by the lovely Amy Matheny). These two “work each other” as they try to climb the corporate ladder into the seat of President of Enron.

Another of the “players”, on a smaller scale to start is Andrew Fsatow ( handled with just the right moves by Sean Fortunato who makes comedy look easy ). His is the character that shows Skilling how to write off money that you haven’t earned by doing start-ups that do nothing and get banks to beg for the opportunity to invest in these bogus companies just to beat out the competition. Another brilliant bit of casting by Timeline. This production is directed by Rachel Rockwell, who is mostly associated with big musicals either as director or choreographer. In her direction of this slick, fast paced production in Timeline’s arena style seating area, we find Rockwell’s movements more like choreography than just stage movement. Even the scene changes are slick, almost dances. In fact, these are possibly the best scene changes of the year ( to bad there is no Jeff Award for this category).

This is classified as a tragedy, but is filled with some comic moments and with the use of corner TV monitors, we watch some of the history unveiled and explained in terms that are very understandable about what Enron was, what they did, how they were able to build a company that did almost nothing and had great success in a stock market where the investors were looking to make big bucks on the coat tails of a company that they knew nothing about. This is 2 hours and 20 minutes of excitement and fast paced atory telling, but to be honest, it  felt as if it was much shorter.

Timeline, once again, has found a winning story, one that we can all relate to as we read and heard all  the stories on a daily basis. There are talkbacks after some of the performances on this one, which will continue through April 15th ( how fitting Tax day) with performances as follows:

Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30 p.m.,(Except on 4/5, 8 :30 p.m.),Friday  8 p.m., Saturday at 4 and 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2.

Timeline Theatre is located at 615 Wellington ( at Broadway) in Chicago. There is some street parking, easy bus rides and discounted parking at the Broadway Center  or The Century Mall- check out www.timelinetheatre.com for this and to order your tickets online. Tickets range from $32-$42 ( a low price for a show this powerful). Students with ID’s get $10 off

                                                        

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