Post-PJ Paparelli, ATC goes bold with Fulfillment, provocateur playwright Thomas Bradshaw's latest | Fall Preview | Chicago Reader

Post-PJ Paparelli, ATC goes bold with Fulfillment, provocateur playwright Thomas Bradshaw's latest 

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Thomas Bradshaw

Thomas Bradshaw

Courtesy Thomas Bradshaw

American Theater Company suffered a major loss in May, when artistic director PJ Paparelli died at age 40 after a car accident in Scotland, just weeks after the opening of The Project(s), his acclaimed documentary-theater piece about public housing in Chicago. ATC is dedicating its 2015—'16 season to the writer-director's legacy, but don't expect a lot of solemn reverence. Interim artistic director Bonnie Metzgar has said the company intends to carry on with the sort of bold, socially engaged work Paparelli championed. And they don't come much bolder than Thomas Bradshaw, whose Fulfillment is the first ATC offering of the post-Paparelli era. Writing in a style that's deliberately flat and jarring, the 35-year-old playwright and Northwestern University associate professor seems to take perverse enjoyment in outraging audiences with his provocative handling of race, sex, and history (which in Bradshaw's work are usually intertwined). The brand-new Fulfillment concerns an attorney who's convinced he keeps failing to make partner at his firm because of racial discrimination. How much do you wanna bet there's more to it than that?

11/13-12/13: Tue-Fri 8 PM, Sat 2 and 8 PM, Sun 2 PM, American Theater Company, 1909 W. Byron, 773-409-4125,, $38-$48.

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