Tuesday October 17th 2017

“The Source”

route66It is not often that we get to watch a World Premiere of a play that just might have been written this morning. Yes, as strange as it might seem, the new Route 66 Company, presentation of Gabriel McKinley’s “The Source” could easily have been from this morning’s first edition or one of the new programs on a news network. The story is about two “journalists”, the writer,Vernon ( a well projected character played by Cody Proctor) and a “photo-journalist”, Oona (played to perfection by Kristina Valadaviars), who have been put together in an undisclosed city, in an undisclosed hotel room ( a masterful set designed by Jack MCGaw) in order to meet “The Source”.

Allegedly, “The Source” is an unidentified “leaker” of hacked documents and info ON the United States Government. Does this sound topical? You bet it does! Vernon and Oona are strangers to each other, source2not knowing why they were selected to pair off in possibly attaining the biggest story of their careers. The secrecy starts on day one as Cody checks in to the hotel. We learn that he has moved rooms several times in order to feel safe and secure. Upon entering the room, he disconnects the phone and the television set, places his cell phone in the freezer unit of the mini-fridge and prepares himself to meet the “Source”.

When Oona arrives, surprising her “room-mate” Vernon, who has just taken a shower, they meet for the first time. They are checked in as a “couple” allowing them to seem more like travelers/tourists, instead of reporters. As the days go on, they begin to learn more about each other and their lives, but not “The Source”. Smoothly directed by Jason Gerace, what we are witness to is a stunning look at what is probably taking place all over the world as I write this. How many “leakers” might be out there? How many writers are seeking to do the story that will change their lives? Perhaps, even a Pulitzer or Nobel? This is 89 minutes of sit on the edge of your seat character building.

This is definitely a NOW storyline, and while there were a few unanswered questions ( in my mind), others may have no problem with deciphering what takes place (or took place, depending how you saw it). Try to imagine, two strangers, with a similar goal, trapped in a hotel room for almost a week. There is one day when they come near to having a sexual encounter, but not because of anything other than boredom (and it is handled with great style and class). There are moments that will alarm you. A pounding on the door, with no person there. Instead, a food platter with cover that has, instead of food, a Rubik’s Cube. This takes place again, yet with nothing there and on the third occasion, a sound that signals Internet accessibility. This will make more sense on being an audience member. There is also a question about a letter that Oona has pertaining to the documents she brought with. Did she have that letter prior to arrival, or was that placed under the door?The-Source-8966

I have to commend the Route 66 Theatre Company for their very topical selection of this piece to be the very first one at their new home at The Den Theatre located at 1333 N. Milwaukee Avenue, second floor. This facility is becoming a solid home for smaller companies with comfort and easy access. This particular production is far more than a play, but for many might be considered a theatrical experience with political overtones. In light of what we read and hear pretty much every day (along with the “tweeting”), “The Source” can be considered a unique evening of theater.

The technical aspects of the production are also very keen with sound (Christopher Kriz), projections (Mark Comisky), costumes (Rachel Sypniewski) and props (Pauline Oleksy). I for one, found this to be a stunning book that could have had even more depth. Perhaps, McKinley will write a sequel. Meanwhile, “The Source” will continue at The Den thru April 2nd with performances as follows:

source4Thursdays  7:30 p.m.

Fridays  7:30 p.m.

Saturdays  3  and 7:30 p.m.

Sundays  3 p.m.

Tickets are $25-$30 and can be purchased by visiting www.route66theatre.brownpapertickets.com

Street parking (some metered, some not) is available. On the side streets, the meters stop at 6 p.m. (pay attention) and valet parking is available at the door.

To see what others are saying, visit www.theatreinchicago.com, go to Review Round-Up and click at “The Source”

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