Highly Recommended **** In our crazy political world, with all we read and hear about Russia on a daily basis, watching “The People’s Republic of Edward Snowden” at the intimate Oil Lamp Theater in Glenview was sort of an” afternoon delight”. Due to a very hectic schedule, I attended a Sunday afternoon performance of this well written play by W.C. Turck, who just happened to be there for the “talkback session” after the 91 minute performance. The entire play takes place in what is supposed to be the airport (Sheremetyevo) in Moscow. We, the audience, are part of the group assembled to hear answers to biting questions from the guest speaker, Edward Snowden, who as we all know, is seeking refuge in Russia so he doesn’t serve time.
During these 90 minutes, we meet Snowden (Nick Bryant is sterling in making us feel that this is indeed a real event, and not a scripted play). In fact, during the play, they ask the audience to add questions to Snowden, and I know there were no provided questions, so when they were asked, Bryant had to own enough knowledge of the NSA and GCHQ as well as the CIA and governmental workings to sound credible and honest. This was amazing! The Press conference is run by Natasha of the FSB (a stunning performance by Lara Dohner, who not only looks like an Soviet agent, she truly makes one feel that she knows everything about each of us in the audience). The other agent is Agent Flenkins (JT Nagle has the feeling of a disturbed “man in black” for sure). It seems that Flenkins and Snowden have “history” and a great deal comes out during their discussion.
What is covered in this story is that spying and surveillance have been around long before Trump began his current allegations. What Snowden tells us is that our laws have been compromised by these agencies for years, and that the threat to our privacy as well as our freedom of speech is threatened by those who are supposed to be protecting them. The play, for the most part is designed to allow us to learn a little more about this man, who, for the most part educated himself and raised himself up in the ranks of Government employees. Snowden saw things that he felt were abusive to the American public and wanted the world to be aware that telling the truth in not a crime!
There is a comic character. an American passenger ( Rob Weinstein, who does get his share of laughs) who is trying to get out of Russia . This character, while adding some comic overtones, does not really need to there, except to break up the tension in a few later scenes. There is also a Gate agent (the lovely Katie Schwaber) who begins and ends the play. She also does aid Natasha during the question and answer phases of the press conference. There are some amazingly powerful items brought up for discussion. Some, very scary. In particular, one about how “hackers” can find you thru your e-mail transmissions- easily! Another about how, even though we are told that tapping one’s phones is not legal, it has been done ( and for all we know, still might be). This play will open your eyes and possibly answer the questions- “what is the truth?” and “Who controls the truth?”
“The People’s Republic Of Edward Snowden” will continue at the Oil Lamp Theater located at 1723 West Glenview Road (just west of Waukegan Road/Route 43) thru April 16th with performances as follows:
Fridays 8 p.m.
Saturdays 8 p.m.
Sundays 3 p.m.
On Sundays and Fridays, after the performance, the cast will come back on stage along with staff to do a talk back about this special play.
Tickets are $35 and includes complimentary soft drinks, cookies (great cookies) and even snacks (nuts and M& M’s ) to enjoy during the performance. To order yours, call 847-834-0738 or visit www.oillamptheater.org
There is free parking just to the west of the theater as well as free street parking ( no meters). If you desire a glass of wine, complimentary corkage and glasses are also provided. This is a cozy retreat on the North Shore, where they also do quality theater.
To see what others are saying, visit www.theatreinchicago.com, go to Review Round-Up and click at “The People’s Republic of Edward Snowden”