Jumping Off the Train | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

Jumping Off the Train 

Sign up for our newsletters Subscribe

Jumping off the Train is Prohibited: And Other Stories, Open Eye Productions and the Tightrope Collective, at Stage Left Theatre. An episodic show conceived by young players following the usual improv-comedy demographics that purports to "communicate...the ways in which the living, breathing city affects us" would normally be an invitation to the shrill delivery of mean-spirited "satire." This ensemble, however, trusts its own perceptions, making Jumping From the Train Is Prohibited: and Other Stories a surprisingly honest, cliche-free, and downright sweet look at life in the big city.

The chief theme of this hour-long program is the tension between passive conformity and taking charge of one's own destiny. A briefly adulterous couple debate whether to reveal their transgression. Two former classmates, one a corporate success and the other a street musician, attempt to renew their friendship. A CTA passenger recounts how divine intervention in an unexpected form prevented her suicide. Even explorations of standard-issue revue subjects have some originality. The nosy neighbor in "The Mayor" is creepy but not cartoonish, and "On the Edge" raises enough questions about romantic illusion, sexual harassment, and emotional blackmail to provide material for a full-length play.

This late-night offering makes no attempt to dazzle us with its cleverness, but the players' intelligent approach to their subjects sends us home with plenty to contemplate. --Mary Shen Barnidge

Support Independent Chicago Journalism: Join the Reader Revolution

We speak Chicago to Chicagoans, but we couldn’t do it without your help. Every dollar you give helps us continue to explore and report on the diverse happenings of our city. Our reporters scour Chicago in search of what’s new, what’s now, and what’s next. Stay connected to our city’s pulse by joining the Reader Revolution.

Are you in?

  Give $35/month →  
  Give $10/month →  
  Give  $5/month  → 

Not ready to commit? Send us what you can!

 One-time donation  → 

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Popular Stories