Feedlot | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader


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Feedlot, Trap Door Theatre. Patrick Meyers's play, about mounting tensions in a group of rowdy Texans in the control room of a mammoth grain elevator, is sweat inducing under any conditions; staged in a cramped, poorly ventilated black box by director Michael S. Pieper, it's downright anxiety provoking. Frankly, Trap Door ought to ditch its plan to get an air conditioner, since the stale air, oppressive heat, and smell of sweat in its theater space bridge the gap between audience and actors, transforming Feedlot into an involuntarily interactive experience.

Meyers's script places huge demands on its cast, especially on the actors playing the foppish college student Gene and the hotheaded Vietnam vet Billy Fred--they have to withstand an onslaught of physical and psychological abuse, then halfway through the script undergo a challenging reversal. Myles Leevy as Gene and Danny Belrose as Billy Fred pull this off with such remarkable skill it's impossible to tell who's the true victim. Trap Door is known for attacking complex, subversive works with gusto, and this production only adds to that reputation.

--Nick Green


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