Theater, Dance, Comedy and Performance in Chicago

Review: Completeness/Theater Wit

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Photo: Charles Osgood

Photo: Charles Osgood

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As an instructor in DePaul’s College of Computing and Digital Media, I chafe when I see “computer geeks” dramatized for the stage. They never resemble the folks I work with. My colleagues are not only technologically brilliant but they can express themselves and maintain relationships; none of them wear glasses taped together at the bridge. Thankfully, Itamar Moses avoids those tired stereotypes and offers some new insight on love and connection; his fully fleshed-out characters bring home the difficulties in store as people who live in their heads act with their hearts.

Eliott (Matt Holzfeind) is a computer-science grad student vying for the attention of Molly (Kristina Valada-Viars), a biology grad student in search of help organizing her research. Interdepartmental cooperation leads to sex, which leads to love, which leads to the bittersweet confusion about “the future” that Moses’ script nails.

Holzfeind and Valada-Viars capture the characters’ passion for the theoretical; nothing excites the tech crowd like a good idea. They also accurately portray lovelorn twentysomethings trying to negotiate the frontiers of love, making two mistakes for every one they desperately try to avoid. Their vulnerability is sweet and universal; audience members shifted uncomfortably during the heartwrenching monologues in which both characters own up to their errors. We’ve all made those amorous missteps; kudos to Moses for dramatizing them so poignantly.

The script isn’t perfect; long theoretical speeches tend to drag. But Jeremy Wechsler’s staging and spot-on ear for rhythms encourage patience. Joe Schermoly’s scenic design and Michael Stanfill’s video design are compelling visual complements that pick up nicely on the show’s themes. The piece’s mid-show “meltdown” is something we’ve all experienced, technologically and personally. You can only give it a little time and reboot. (Lisa Buscani)

At Theater Wit, 1229 West Belmont, (773)975-8150. Through March 24.  (Half-Priced Tickets)

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