Tuesday October 17th 2017

“The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs”

agonystevejobs3-300x200Highly Recommended**** Whenever I attend a theatrical production in the tiny theater in the lower level of North Berwyn Park District, known as 16Th Street Theater, I am reminded of the expression “good things come in small packages”. In this very small space, under the direction of their Artistic Director, in the western suburb of Berwyn, we are treated to a mixture of entertainment that not only entertains us, but causes us to think. Their current production, “The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs” written by Mike Daisy is to some “propaganda” and to others a tribute to the mind of genius Steve Jobs, but is reality is pure entertainment and solid story telling. Directed and starring Chicago favorite Lance Baker, this one hour and forty-five minute adventure into the world of Jobs and Apple takes us to China, Silicon Valley and to the world of “Geeks”.

The stage is mostly bare when we enter, with the exception of a screen with the message “Please turn off your cell phones”- amazingly, what we are about to witness is the world that relies on this small object from minute to minute and how Steve Jobs and his “geekiness” is the cause of this item that everyone has made a part of their lives.Then, from the back of the house, enters  Baker representing the stories that  Mike Daisy wrote of his experience in interviewing Chinese workers, people involved in the computer world and others. What we see and hear, to some will seem unreal, and in fact, may be just so. Daisey is a confessed “story teller” and his monologues are well written and give the appearance of being very factual. There are many who will find fault and errors in the body of the script, but most of what we are told is very realistic and many of the parts of the story are based on actual events and situations. Baker is sensational in this adventure!

Our job as an audience is to be entertained! That is why we go to the theater, isn’t it? To break away from the stress and strife in our own lives, for at least a small period of time, where we can laugh or cry and have a diversion from the things that may be troubling us. This production DOES that! Under the skillful hand of Baker and his story telling ability, this is an astounding entertainment that will allow you to laugh and be entertained. Yes, we may think and yes, we may question what we are hearing. If we do question, we can always “Google” and learn more on our own computer. The computer that we learned about during this monologue that for the most part is built by the people that we just learned about. How is that for irony?agonychina2-200x300

Joe Court handles the sound and multimedia to assist in Baker’s conveying the story to us and Mac Vaughey handles the lighting. There are not a lot of special effects or theatrical moments in this piece. The focus is on telling us the story that Daisey wanted to get to the public- that the laborers who build our cell phones, smart phones, I -phones and all the other micro items that make our world what it is today are built by underpaid, overworked people who have little choice but to follow the rules or pay the price. Even if the facts are somewhat altered for theatrical reasons, we know that there is a lot of truth to what we are being told, but for the most part, since it doesn’t harm us, we just let it slide. At least, now, we have some idea as to how that little communication device that has become almost attached to our hand, got there.

“Agony” will continue at the 16th Street Theater located at 6420 West 16th Street ( just west of Austin Blvd) in Berwyn through February 9th with performances Thursdays and Fridays at 7:30 p.m. and Saturdays at 5 and 8 p.m.

There will be NO show on February 9th at 5 p.m. and here is an ADDED show on Monday,February 4th at 7:30 p.m.

Tickets are a mere $18 ( just a bit more than a movie) for a theatrical experience you will remember for years to come.

You can purchase tickets by calling 708-795-6704 , online at www.16thstreettheater.org  or you can visit the Park District office at 1618 Wesley Avenue in Berwyn.

There is free parking one block west of the theater

To learn what others think, visit www.theatreinchicago.com  go to review round-up and click on “Agony”


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