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Theatre School faculty member playwrights 'Dark Play' with alum in lead role

By Eduardo Sayago
On January 30, 2012

"Do I tell the truth, or do I make shit up?"

This question is asked by Nick (Clancy McCarthy) when he is in a dilemma. He must decide whether or not to reveal the origins of some scars on his stomach and chest to Molly (Olivia Dustman), a young woman he just had sex with.

He's not sure what to do. He's used to making shit up, getting a thrill out of it. But with Molly, he's uncertain.

Instead, Nick shares a story of how one time he decided to make shit up. This has some very traumatic consequences for all involved.

Collaboraction Theater Company (1579 N. Milwaukee Ave., right in the heart of Wicker Park) is currently presenting "Dark Play or Stories for Boys", written by Carlos Murillo, who is an associate professor at The Theatre School.

Directed by Anthony Moseley, "Dark Play" explores how the real and virtual worlds blur when a seemingly simple prank escalates out of control.

Nick discovers a post from Adam (Aaron Kirby). "I want to fall in love," wrote Adam. Using a system to rate the gullibility of people, Nick explains that the Gullibility Threshold (or GT) Adam possesses is a 10 (1 meaning someone doesn't fall for anything and 10 meaning someone can believe anything without a doubt).

Nick creates Rachel (also Dustman), the perfect girl for Nick. She's a smart, witty, confident and beautiful 15-year old who also wants to find the right guy.

Rachel and Adam meet in a chatroom and spend the night talking. For those of you who might be too young to remember, chatrooms were a precursor to social-networking sites.

People would sign in with a username (i.e. NickWillRockU, Nick's username) and chat in general or one-on-one with someone. You could talk about anything or nothing.

DePauliaWriter has entered the chatroom

DePauliaWriter: Hey everyone. Anybody interested in blogging for our site?

I-am-awesome84792: Anyone seen the new "Lost"? How messed up was that?

HottiefromSkokie: 18/F/IL. Anyone wanna cam?

FakeBacon05: SHOOOOOOOOOOORMS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

(This is how pointless chatrooms were.)

Most people went on chatrooms because they were bored. Some used them to seek out underage prey. Others were horny, almost everyone was lonely.

Luckily this strange and creepy fad faded away. On the downside, Craigslist became its replacement.

Rachel and Adam grow closer. They are confiding in one another. They fall in love. When Adam suggests they meet, Rachel is worried.

This is impossible since she's not real. But she makes a suggestion. "Turn on your webcam," she types. In order to provide intimacy/prove he loves her, he turns on the webcam, strips off his clothes and masturbates in front of the camera. Welcome to teen romance, 21st century-style.

With Sorin Brouwers and Jane deLaubenfels as various characters, both real and online, the cast of five was remarkable in their performances. It does help that the stage, set in a small black box theatre where only 30 people were sitting just inches away from the action, provides an intimacy that you can't find in a larger venue.

You are right there in the middle of the action, from the chat sessions (Nick, Adam, and Rachel moving around while talking) to the love scenes (see picture accompanying this review).

McCartney, a recent graduate of The Theatre School, is energetic in his role as the commentator and character Nick, a charming young guy who is capable of destruction simply for shits and giggles. He made me laugh and gave me chills throughout the 90-minute production.

As recent events have proven, the Internet has become such a vital part of our lives. It's up there with food, water and shelter.

You might even be reading this online now. We all have used Wikipedia or Google to look up something. Just about all my friends are on Facebook. (While writing this, I updated my status and my friend Katie, who is sitting at the next table, "Liked" my status.)

I even Googled the playwright, who happens to be the head of playwriting for The Theatre School and visited Collaboraction's home page. See, I used the word "google" as a verb.

The Internet has changed the way we live. While technology has many positive repercussions, it has also brought a lot of negative side effects.

A man in Ohio has been charged with murder after three people were found dead after responding to an ad on Craigslist about a well-paying job.

There's the "Craigslist Killer" (the actual one and the awful Lifetime movie). And imagine all the people who use the "Personals" section.

How many of those posts are by actual people and not creeps or scam artists or robots? The World Wide Web can be a scary, scary place.

DePauliaWriter has now left the chatroom.

"Dark Play or Stories for Boys" runs through Feb. 26. For tickets, go to collaboraction.typepad.com


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